“It is far better to take a 20-minute walk every day than a 2-hour walk on Sunday.”

 Lack of exercise, as well as too much of it, can result in poor health and habits for your dog. It’s important to find a balance, here’s why:

  • For their mental stimulation: Dogs need as much physical exercise as they do mental exercise. Physical activity plays a big part in dogs’ mental states and provides stimulation for both the body and brain.
  • To reinforce positive behaviors and reduce unwanted ones: Just as exercise affects dogs’ physical and mental wellbeing, it also impacts their behaviors. With ample exercise, dogs are satiated, leading to fewer destructive behaviors.
  • For their physical health: Dogs need exercise to stay in shape. Exercise results in tip-top body condition, from a healthy weight and muscle tone to a healthy metabolism.

Walking remains a cornerstone of canine fitness. It is easy, does not require much equipment, can be done nearly everywhere, and is good for people, too.The benefits of brisk walking include a stronger heart, lower blood pressure, more energy, denser bones, and a lower risk of depression. There’s no set rule for how far or how long a dog should walk.

  • When making your dog your exercise buddy, step one is a trip to the vet. Your vet can evaluate your dog for any heart, lung, or other health problems.
  • Develop a workout routine that’s realistic, considering your job schedule and other demands on your time not forgetting your dog’s needs; working breeds and young dogs usually need a lot of exercise. Your dog may be overworked if they are breathing fast, panting excessively, staggering, or refusing to follow you.

Senior dogs: Because of their age, exercise might need to become shorter but it’s still necessary to make sure they’re getting the required stimulation. Exercise helps increase their flexibility and endurance, strengthens muscles around the joints, and can help stave off health problems caused by obesity. It also aids bowel function, which is especially important in older dogs. And, since obesity tends to make arthritis worse, any activity that helps your dog lose weight could ease their symptoms in the long run. Try low-impact exercises, such as swimming and moderate walking, with your old fellow.

Adult dogs: it’s always crucial to consider a dogs breed and lifestyle when exercising. In general, dogs need a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. Adult dogs can perform a larger variety of exercises so mix things up and have fun. This can be as simple as a few leisurely walks and some indoor playtime. Make sure you listen to your dog; different breeds, different tolerance levels.

 Puppy exercise: Start small. Puppies get large bursts of energy followed by long periods of rest and napping. To hold their attention and introduce them to exercise, hold a few short walks or play sessions throughout the day. Learn your puppy’s breed. Regardless of their stage of life, some dog breeds are genetically and physically built to exercise more than others. Don’t overwork your puppy. If they’re sleeping, let them sleep. Too much exercise can be harmful to your pups’ developing mind and body. Wait until your puppy’s bones and joints are fully grown, at around one year old, before making them your running partner.

Important tips to keep in mind when exercising your dog outdoors:

  • Give your dog time to build up stamina: If you plan on taking your dog running or hiking, remember that just like you, it will take your dog time to build up their stamina and fitness level. Even if your dog appears fit or is in good health, be sure to give your dog time to adapt to your routine.
  • Use equipment that’s comfortable for them: Attaching a leash to a harness rather than a nylon collar if your dog tends to pull or you plan on going for a long run or hike. 
  • Give them a warmup and cool down period: Just like when you exercise, your dog needs a warm up and cool down period, especially if you’re doing any high intensity exercising. A short leisurely walk can be enough to warm up and cool down their muscles.
  • Be careful with hot weather: This is especially true for warm months and climates. Unlike people, dogs cannot sweat out excess body heat and can only cool down through panting. Avoid exercising on very hot days and during the sunniest times of the day. Steer clear of hot sidewalks or pavement, keep them hydrated, and move them to a shaded and cool area after exercising outdoors.

PS: Consult your veterinarian before initiating any regular physical fitness plan for your dog.

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