It is no secret that dogs can get tremendous health benefits from regular exercise - just like people, dogs can reap the rewards of reduced risk of heart disease and better cardiovascular health. What a lot of dog owners aren’t aware of, however, are the numerous other physical and emotional benefits that your pet can get by staying fit and active.
For starters, more active dogs have less risk of obesity and related illness. Not only does dog obesity often lead to heart disease and high blood pressure, but can even lead to diabetes and a higher risk of various cancers. Dogs that are given the chance to exercise more, through long walks or active play, can avoid a lot these issues and live longer and more comfortably.
There are some less obvious health issues that can arise in your furry friend from lack of exercise, as well. Many breeds are prone to digestive issues, which can be very uncomfortable for the animal and lead to repeated visits to the veterinarian. Restless dogs who are cooped up for too long often resort to chewing behaviors around the house that can lead to constipation and other problems; on top of that, regular exercise helps a dog’s metabolism to digest food and pass waste faster.
Finally, dogs can benefit from exercise by maintaining muscle mass, keeping healthy joints, and staying agile and coordinated. Just like with people, a well-exercised dog will continue being able to play and run well into old age and can reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle in their twilight years.
Happier and More Confident Dogs
Not only does regular dog exercise improve your pet’s health markers and lower the chance of major illnesses; many of the behavioral problems that dogs struggle with can be helped or completely eliminated by an active lifestyle. There has been a lot of research lately showing that lack of exercise is one of the biggest causes of canine depression, stress, and insomnia. If your dog is exhibiting any of these problems, there is a good chance that more play and activity will make it go away entirely.
A lot of other problematic behaviors are also directly caused by a lack of exercise. When dogs are restless and have too much-unused energy, they often end up causing problems through excessive digging, barking, and chewing behaviors. Everyone dreads coming home to find that their dog has destroyed all the furniture in the living room, and this is exactly the kind of behavior that is caused when a dog is forced to live a sedentary lifestyle.
Various kinds of play have also been shown to make dogs act less skittish and nervous. Dogs who exercise regularly are more confident with other dogs and with strangers and typically becomes more social and more playful.
Keeping Your Dog Active
With all of these physical and mental benefits, it is obviously important to make sure that your dog lives an active lifestyle with enough exercise. But that raises the question - how much exercise is actually enough?
Research shows that most breeds need substantially more exercise than their owners think they do. Even small dogs who seem to zip around the house all day may be under-exercised. As the dog gets larger, it becomes even less likely that they are living the kind of active lifestyle that their minds and bodies need.
Dogs are typically more athletic and energetic than humans, and as we are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, our pets may be suffering. While daily walking is a good start, and practically a necessity for many breeds, dogs are not built to be cooped up for the other 23 hours in a day. Veterinarians today recommend at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day - swimming, running, playing fetch - in addition to a long walk.
Unfortunately, with all of life’s demands, most dog owners aren’t able to dedicate as much time or attention to their animal’s health as they would like. Going to the dog park or beach even twice a week can make a big difference in your companion’s long term health. But, the best way to make sure that your dog is getting all the exercise he needs is to give him/her open space and the ability to run and play. The Tether Tug can provide this, by giving your dog the opportunity and freedom to exercise safely, even when you aren’t around.
While not every dog owner has the time or energy to meet their pet’s exercise needs, they all want to raise a furry friend that will live a long a long and healthy life. By understanding what their dog needs and finding the right resources, they can find a way to be confident that their dog is living its life to the fullest.