The Importance of Exercising Your Dog

Dogs have a natural instinct inherited from wild ancestors to hunt, scavenge, defend territory, fight off predators, care for offspring, as well as to play one with another. Dogs are leading a sedentary lifestyle that ages them much faster. Without proper exercise, dogs may develop behavioral problems that result in destructiveness and hyperactivity. Some behaviors you may have noticed include chewing shoes, digging holes in upholstery and bedding, scratching furniture, turning over garbage cans and scattering the contents, and becoming excessively predatory. If your dog is becoming increasingly restless, active or excitable, he or she could be hyperactive. If your dog whines, barks, bites or is altogether unruly for no good reason, he or she may after your attention.

A yard for your dog to run in is great but it isn’t the same as exercising your dog. Your dog needs social interaction with you in wide open spaces. How vigorously you should exercise your dog depends upon its age, size, breed and its individual traits. Any exercise that makes your dog pant, whether that is playing fetch or frisbee, tug of war, running, or swimming for a half hour each day, is good exercise. The best exercise is a long walk, regardless of your dog’s breed, and in consideration of your dog’s age.

Develop an exercise program that won’t do your dog more harm than good. For instance, short/flat nosed breeds have trouble breathing, especially during vigorous exercises and in warmer climates such as that found in Southern U.S. Dogs ages 18 months or younger can’t endure long periods of exercise due to under-developed bones. Long periods of exercise for short-legged breeds of dog are also difficult to sustain. Large dogs are prone to arthritis, ligament injuries, and deteriorating hip joints (hip displaysia) therefore it is best not to over-exercise your large dog unless he has been conditioned to withstand long jogs.

Exercising your dog keeps him young at heart, his mind sharp, and his body in good shape. An active dog will help you be active and keep you both moving and healthy.

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