We all want the best for our dogs. That’s why we shower them with love and affection, feed them nutritious dog food, and give them enough exercise to support a long, healthy life!
But how much exercise is enough exercise for our dogs? It’s an important question – and one that we’re happy to answer.
Every dog has different needs when it comes to exercise – so it’s up to you to determine what’s best for your dog. But here are some general tips to help you along the way. Read on to learn the 7 most important tips for making sure your dog gets enough exercise!
Tip 1: Factor in your dog’s breed and life stage
Of all the factors that determine your dog’s exercise needs, breed and life stage are at the top of the list. High-energy breeds – like a belgian malinois or border collie – require much more exercise than lower-energy breeds – like a basset hound or chow chow. And senior dogs will typically be much less active than puppies and adult dogs.
But you already knew that.
I don’t bring these two factors up because they’re difficult to understand. I bring them up because these two factors should weigh heavily into your decision when choosing the right dog for you and your lifestyle.
Most dogs won’t instinctually meet their own exercise needs if left to their own devices. So it’s up to you to determine your dog’s needs and fit the proper amount of exercise into your and their lifestyle. Which brings us to tip #2…
Tip 2: Create a consistent exercise routine
We all have busy lives. But if you want to give your dog a happy and healthy life – it’s critical to implement a consistent exercise routine.
Daily walks are a great place to start – but most dogs need more than that to truly reach their optimal fitness level. We recommend using daily walks as a healthy baseline, and adding more rigorous activities on top of that when your schedule permits.
For example, give your dog a walk every day – Monday through Friday. And on Saturday or Sunday, take them to the local dog park or find an open space for a long game of fetch!
If you live near a beach or hiking trail, even better! Let them explore a new environment and embrace their wild side. Before you know it, you’ll have allowed them to run and play for hours!
Tip 3: Pay attention to your dog’s body language
You get home from work, greet your dog at the door, and get them excited for an early evening walk! But halfway through the walk, something is wrong. Your dog plops down and refuses to move.
We’ve all been here before – so what do we do?
Reading your dog’s body language is critical to maintaining their optimal exercise level. If your dog sits or lies down during a walk, that’s a sign that they need some time to rest. If they’re panting excessively on a hot day, it’s time to cool them off and get them a fresh bowl of water. And if your dog is amped up and ready to play, then you better get the tennis ball or frisbee – because they’re telling you that it’s time to exercise!
Reading your dog’s body language isn’t hard to do. You just need to pay attention and support their needs. Speaking of which…
Tip 4: Support your dog’s fitness with high-protein dog food
You can do everything right with your dog’s exercise routine. But if you don’t support your dog’s fitness with a high-protein, real meat dog food – then they’ll never achieve optimal health.
We recommend feeding a dog food that’s high in protein and very low in digestible carbohydrates. You can use a brand like Visionary Pet or create a diet at home using real meat from the grocery store or a local butcher.
Whichever route you choose, make sure you support your dog’s health with a real meat food – and avoid the sugars and starches contained in cheap, carb-filled kibbles.
Tip 5: Use high-intensity exercise
Like humans, dogs need high-intensity exercise to truly achieve peak fitness. It’s not enough just to walk your dog daily – especially for puppies and adult dogs. You need to incorporate high-intensity workouts to unleash the lifelong benefits of optimal exercise!
Try some hill runs or sprints with your dog. Or, play some (very) active games like hide-and-seek or fetch. Remember, your dog’s health will suffer more from inactivity then from over-exercise.
Tip 6: Use games to challenge your dog and stimulate their brain
Games are a great way to challenge your dog mentally AND physically. Use challenging games to keep their brains active and engaged, while encouraging adequate exercise!
Try hiding their favorite toys or treats in an open space. Or, find a treat dispenser that makes them work for their reward. These are great ways to challenge your dog intellectually while encouraging them to be active.
Tip 7: Be consistent!
This advice is true for most things in life – and it’s especially true when it comes to caring for your dog. Make your dog’s physical fitness part of your daily life, and don’t let up. As with humans, it can take months to build optimal fitness – but only weeks to lose those cardiovascular gains.
Make sure you and your dog maintain an active lifestyle – so that you both can enjoy the lifelong benefits of optimal health!