A Tired Dog Is a Good Dog (and a Healthier One Too)

I get it. You come home from a long day at work and the last thing you want to do is walk the dog. But consider what happens when you don’t: obesity-related conditions and unwanted behaviors. This blog offers ways to exercise your dog, including a few that don’t require you to break a sweat!


Exercise Requirements

According to the U.K. Kennel Club, puppies need five minutes of exercise per month of age up to twice a day. So a four-month-old puppy will need about 20 minutes of exercise per day, while a six-month-old puppy will need about 30 minutes.

Generally, adult dogs should get between 30 minutes and two hours of physical activity per day. Adults typically reach maturity between nine and 15 months, and are considered senior as early as six years, though this varies greatly by breed.

Age, breed and health of a dog will determine specific exercise requirements, but it’s a fallacy to assume small dogs need less exercise than large dogs. Consider the high-energy Jack Russell versus the low-energy Bull Mastiff.


Consequences of Insufficient Exercise

Daily walks and playtime require time and effort, but consider the consequences of insufficient exercise. According to a 2016 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53.9 percent of dogs were classified as clinically overweight by their veterinarian. Obesity can lead to hypertension, diabetes, liver disease, osteoarthritis and other conditions. Treatment is costly, not to mention the heartache of watching your dog endure painful disorders that compromise her quality of life.

Boredom and the inability to focus are two other troublesome outcomes stemming from insufficient exercise. Inactive dogs equal bored dogs. Boredom often manifests in inappropriate chewing, aggression, over-excitement and other unwanted behaviors. Dogs with pent up energy also have difficulty focusing, which makes it challenging to train them. Both of these negative consequences mean you’ll end up spending more time and money correcting problems, and with limited success.


Exercise Options

While it would be nice to think you can just let your dog out back and she’ll run around on her own, she won’t. If you’ve got an ample backyard and your dog likes to fetch, get out there and play with her! After dark try a laser. My dog is literally addicted to it.

Of course, walks are great because they provide both exercise and an opportunity to develop good on-leash behavior. If you can’t regularly walk your dog, consider hiring a dog-walker, or take your dog to daycare a few days a week. Many dog-walking services offer “pack walks,” which are another great form of exercise while also helping to socialize your dog.

If you work the typical eight-hour shift and your dog is confined to a crate all day, hiring a dog-walker for mid-day walks is especially important. Not only does this give your dog that crucial outlet for her energy, it also breaks up the boredom of being crated all day.

Although many owners find dog parks a suitable free option for giving their dogs exercise, it can also be a risky one. It offers no way to test the waters for incompatible dogs and many owners aren’t educated to see early signs of aggression. An alternative no-cost option is finding neighbors and friends with dogs who might join in on rotating, in-home “play dates.” Just be sure you first introduce the dogs in a controlled way to ensure everyone is compatible.

And if you’re still finding it hard to give your dog sufficient exercise, consider getting a treadmill. Virtually all dogs can be trained to use a treadmill. Who knows, maybe you’ll hop on and get some exercise too!



So remember, a tired dog is not only a good dog, but a healthier and happier one too.

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