Whether your dog is a puppy or a senior citizen, all dogs need exercise. Just like humans, the amount of exercise your dog needs will vary over time and by breed. Your dog may love to be a lap dog or lounge around, but it is important to not forget that they also need to get up and get moving.
The health benefits of exercise are, again, similar to those humans experience. Exercise can help maintain physical health and well as behavioral health or attitude. VetStreet points out that obesity is not just something that is plaguing humans but dogs as well, “Exercise isn’t just a nicety; it’s a necessity for maintaining optimal physical and mental well-being. As with people, obesity is becoming a major health problem in today’s dogs. Between 20 and 40 percent of all dogs seen by veterinarians in the United States are considered overweight, and many are clinically obese. Obesity prevents dogs from enjoying many physical activities; it also decreases speed and stamina and makes it more difficult for dogs to deal with heat. Obesity is also associated with certain medical problems, including arthritic changes in overly burdened joints, increased risk of torn ligaments, back problems, cardiac problems, difficulty breathing, increased surgical risks, skin problems, whelping problems and a possible increase in risk for some cancers.”
In addition to keeping your dog’s weight and physical health in check, exercise can significantly help improve behavior. This is particularly true in young dogs or puppies that tend to be rambunctious. When a dog is bouncing off the walls with energy they can become disruptive and destructive. This is not because they are an inherently “bad dog,” it is likely because they are so filled with energy that they do not know where to expend the energy or quite what to do with themselves. All that pent up energy can lead to bad behavior if there is no physical outlet. Exercise is the best outlet and the amount of exercise needed will vary depending on your dog’s size and age. Large breed dogs tend to need more exercise – approximately 30-40 minutes of moderate – high intensity cardiovascular exercise. Walking is great but considers throwing a ball or Frisbee so that your dog can run around at a higher pace. Smaller breed dogs need approximately 20-30 minutes of walking or moderate-intensity exercise. You can break up this exercise with a few different walks or exercises throughout the day. With proper exercise, your dog will be a healthy and happy companion.