Exercising your Dog

Just like people, dogs need daily exercise in order to remain healthy. But unlike many people,Exercising your Dog almost all dogs enjoy getting out and exercising. This can be the best part of a dog’s daily routine. The type and amount of exercise that a dog need differs primarily due to age, breed, and health. A young healthy Border Collie would prefer to exercise for hours, while a young healthy bulldog might only prefer a short walk. In general, most young healthy dogs need more then a short leash walk daily. If possible, having a dog off leash to be able to run and play with other dogs for at least 30 minutes is preferable. Click here to find a dog park in your area where they allow dogs off leash.

There are many benefits of exercise for your dog. The physical benefits are improved strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and it can help prevent unhealthy weight gain. It has been shown that overweight dogs live on average 2 years less then dogs that are not overweight. Other then the positive physical effects of exercise, dogs can benefit psychologically from regular exercise. When dogs do not get enough exercise they become bored and often develop bad habits, such as destroying things in the house. Their sleep patterns and level of stress can improve with regular exercise. Lastly, the bond between you and your dog will become stronger by taking your dog out for regular exercise.

Before exercising your dog, it is important to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian. Dogs and Exercising Some dogs are born with congenital abnormalities, such as orthopedic or cardiac disease, that can make exercise difficult at a very young age. So even though your dog appears young and healthy, it is still important to have your dog examined by a veterinarian. As dogs become older they often will develop medical conditions. Certain medical conditions, just like with people, can make exercise difficult or even life-threatening. Other then regular examinations of your dog by a veterinarian, it is recommended that yearly diagnostic tests, such as bloodwork be done when your dog is older. If you notice your dog limping, or having a harder time standing up or moving around, it might be indicated to take x rays of your dog to assess for arthritis. This is not an uncommon problem in older dogs, especially large breed dogs. If your dog is coughing they might have a cardiac problem. Keep in mind, if your dog is diagnosed with a medical condition, there are often treatments that improve their condition and allow them to stay active.

Share your house with a cat too? Click here to learn about the importance of exercise for cats.

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Dr Peter Nurre

Peter Nurre, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (internal medicine) is a board- certified veterinary internal medicine specialist. His professional interests include internal medicine and cardiology.

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