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The Overwhelming Benefits of Exercising Your Dog

Written by: Helena Lawrence



Time to read 5 min

Regular exercise is essential for dogs. Learn how to exercise your dog safely for a longer, happier life (and less expensive trips to the vet). This article will explore the overwhelming benefits of exercising your dog, focusing on how it contributes to their well-being.

Does Walking Keep My Dog Healthy?

Walking offers many benefits for dogs as it can help keep them a healthy weight, maintain a healthy heart and strengthen muscles and bones. Regular walks also provide dogs with mental stimulation as they explore their surroundings and find new things to sniff out and other dogs to interact with.

It is also a great way to help your dog’s digestion and keep their poops healthy and regular. Plus if you don’t have access to a garden going out on a walk is a great way to get your dog the exercise they need.

Benefits of exercising your dog

Exercise As A Weight Management Tool For Dogs

It’s estimated that up to 40% of the dogs in the UK are overweight and a great way of helping your dog stay fit and healthy is exercise. You can try activities like:

  • Playing fetch
  • Running
  • Swimming 

These activities can help burn calories and reduce the risk of obesity related issues (like heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems). 

Of course it is also important to feed your dog the correct amount of food but combining a healthy diet with the right amount of exercise can help keep your dog in tip top condition.

Mental Stimulation Through Exercise

Interactive games such as hide-and-seek, where you hide treats or toys to search for, are a great way to make exercise both fun and mentally stimulating for your dog. This engages their sense of smell and problem-solving skills, keeping their minds active and focused.

Teaching your dog new tricks not only strengthens the bond between you and your dog but also provides mental stimulation through positive reinforcement.

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Agility Training

Agility training is another great way to exercise both your dog’s brain and body. It tests your dog’s physical abilities and their mental agility, focus and coordination which is excellent mental stimulation.

Socialisation And Exercise

Regular exercise allows dogs to interact with other pooches and humansto improve their social skills. Dog parks, group walks, or playdates with other friendly dogs can help build confidence, reduce anxiety, and improve their overall behaviour. 

Socialising your dog is especially important when they are young as it helps reduce the likelihood of fear-based or anxiety-related behaviour.

The Role Of Exercise In Behavior Management

Many behavioural problems in dogs can be linked to a lack of physical activity. Dogs that don't receive enough exercise can become bored and frustrated. When dogs get bored it can cause destructive behaviour such as:

  • Excessive barking
  • Digging
  • Chewing
  • Aggression

Exercise releases endorphins (the feel-good hormones) which have a calming effect on your dog's nervous system. This then helps your dog feel happier and more relaxed and helps stop the unwanted behaviours.

Strengthen the bond between you & your dog

Exercising with your dog strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion. Sharing physical activities like hiking, jogging, or playing fetch creates a sense of togetherness and reinforces the human-dog relationship.

When you do activities with your dog, you build mutual trust and create positive experiences together. The shared enjoyment of exercise strengthens your emotional connection and deepens the bond of love and companionship.

Prevent health issues

Regular exercise is crucial in preventing and managing various health issues in dogs. It helps improve cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. 

Exercise also promotes healthy digestion and helps prevent constipation and gastrointestinal problems. It also boosts the immune system, making dogs less susceptible to infections and diseases. Additionally, exercise helps regulate insulin levels, reducing the risk of diabetes in dogs.

Exercising senior dogs

Even though their exercise routine may need to be changed due to age-related conditions it is still important that senior dogs get exercise as it helps:

  • Maintain joint flexibility
  • Maintain muscle tone
  • Overall mobility
  • Provide mental stimulation
  • Slow cognitive decline

Low-impact exercises such as gentle walks, swimming, or stretching exercises are ideal for senior dogs. These activities help keep their joints mobile without putting too much strain on their ageing bodies. It's important to speak to your vet about the right exercises for your senior dog, so that their health needs and limitations are taken into account.

It's important to speak to your vet about the right exercises for your senior dog so that their health needs and limitations are taken into account.

The Benefits Of Varied Exercise Routines

Mixing up your dog's exercise routine keeps things interesting for both you and your dog. Not only does this help make exercise sessions more enjoyable but it can also help prevent your dog getting injured or bored. Making sure your dog gets a good mix of high and low impact exercise helps stop the same muscles getting overused and can keep them mentally stimulated ensures that different muscle groups are engaged, preventing overuse injuries and promoting overall fitness.

It is also important to make sure the exercise you choose is safe for your dog. For example, flat nosed breeds such as Pugs and French Bull Terriers aren’t suited to swimming because they are more likely to inhale water.

Guidelines for exercising your dog safely

While exercise is great for dogs, it's essential to make sure they stay safe during physical activities. Some dogs may have underlying health conditions or physical limitations that mean some types of exercise aren’t good for them.

Consider the weather

It's also important to consider the weather when exercising your dog. Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest parts of the day to prevent heat stroke or paw pad burns from hot pavement. Take precautions to protect your dog from extreme temperatures in cold weather, such as using doggy jackets or boots.

Increase intensity slowly

To avoid injuries it’s important to slowly increase how intensely and how long they exercise for. Begin with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time. Pay attention to your dog's body language and signs of fatigue, and provide ample water and rest breaks during exercise sessions.

Final thoughts

Regular exercise is key to your dog's overall well-being. It helps with:

  • Physical health 
  • Weight management
  • Mental stimulation 
  • Socialisation 
  • Behaviour
  • Strengthening the human-dog bond

By adding different activities into their routine and providing plenty of physical and mental stimulation, you can ensure your beloved canine companion's happy, healthy, and fulfilled life. So grab that leash, lace up your shoes, and embark on an exciting journey of exercise and companionship with your furry friend!

Take a look at our dog joint supplements to complement their exercise regime and ensure their joints stay healthy.