Most pet owners consider their dogs as part of the family, so it’s important to care for their health and well being just as the rest of the family is cared for. Exercise is one of the most important aspects of health for both pets and people. Regular exercise also helps with mental health and keeps the mind strong throughout the lifetime of a pet, and has the same effect on people.
The rise of obesity isn’t just happening with humans. Vets are continuing to see more pets that are overweight, with many of them considered clinically obese. An obese pet has trouble with daily tasks, has less energy and even can have problems dealing with heat. When a dog is overweight, they are also prone to serious illnesses that can decrease their lifespan and their quality of life. Overweight pets are more likely to have diabetes, arthritis, breathing issues, back problems, skin issues and many other significant health concerns. Overweight dogs just aren’t capable of being active and enjoying life as they should.
An overweight dog can also experience changes in behavior. Dogs have a long history of being active and always doing something. They weren’t bred to live a sedentary lifestyle. This is especially true of dogs who were bred for activities like hunting, herding and tracking. They simply weren’t meant to lounge around all day with nothing to do. This leads to boredom, which often leads to a misbehaving dog that may exhibit undesirable behaviors like chewing or tearing things up.
How to Get in Regular Exercise
Most dogs may need a bit of encouragement to get enough exercise, especially if the’re accustomed to laying around most of the day. It may be difficult to know how much daily exercise a particular dog needs so speaking to a vet can be very helpful. The amount of exercise can vary based on the age and breed of the dog. Puppies don’t need long bursts of exercise because they’re always on the go anyway. Dogs who aren’t used to exercise need to begin slowly and it’s important to be patient as they learn how to be active again. Daily walks work wonders and it’s easy to increase the speed and distance once the dog becomes accustomed to regular exercise.
It’s important not to walk or jog on hot pavement with a dog as it can cause damage to their paw pads. When a dog seems to be struggling to keep up or is panting heavily, one should always stop and offer them cool water. Exercise is best done in the morning or evening, when the sun isn’t so hot. If one lives an area where running outdoors simply isn’t possible, there are treadmills designed for dogs to allow them daily exercise in the comfort of the home.
Swimming can also be fun for many dogs as long as basic safety precautions are followed. It’s important to ensure the dog feels comfortable in the water and swimming should only be done in calm water. A dog life jacket can work well for less than confident swimmers. Most importantly, exercise should be fun for both dog and owner so that it’s a routine that can be done each day.