Keeping Your Canine Buddy In Shape

Is your canine companion a lively, bouncy ball of fur? Or is your cute pet more of a furry, four-legged couch potato? Whatever camp your puppy falls into, he will need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Of course, doggy workouts differ tremendously. A local Dallas, GA veterinarian provides some advice on this below.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Getting Enough Activity?

Fido’s weight and physical condition are two good indicators of this. If you’re not sure whether your canine friend is overweight, underweight, or just right, chat with your Dallas, GA veterinarian.

There are also some behavioral cues. Dogs who don’t get enough exercise are more likely to engage in undesirable activities, such as digging and chewing. They may also be a little more rambunctious. If your dog has been misbehaving, he may not be getting enough exercise or excitement.

How Can I Make My Dog More Active?

Have you heard the expression that you can lead a horse to water but not make him drink? That pretty much applies here. Fido’s opinions and preferences should all be taken into consideration. You’ll have far better success keeping your dog fit if you do something that he appreciates. Take Fetch for example. Many dogs pick this up spontaneously. Others will simply give you a lovely bewildered face if you toss a stick for them.

You may need to experiment to determine what your canine companion prefers.

Walking is, of course, the norm here. Even taking your dog for a few short walks each day can help him stay fit.

How Can I Keep My Dog Active Indoors?

There will come a time when bringing Fido out for anything more than a quick bathroom break is not necessarily enticing. If it’s chilly, rainy, or both, you and Fido may be stuck indoors. 

Here are a few ways to keep your pet active inside.:

Workout Buddies: If you work out indoors, consider including Fido in your regimen. Doing sit-ups? Pick up a dog toy and toss it to your furry friend as you’re sitting up. This can also be done with lunges and squats. Man’s Best Buddy also sometimes enjoys doing yoga with his humans. (To be fair, our canine companions aren’t the best yoga buddies, but they do make the exercises more enjoyable.)

Fetch: Fetch can be played indoors if there is enough space. Just avoid areas with breakable and/or harmful objects.

Stair Runs: Go to the top of the stairs while holding Fido’s favorite toy. Call him to you. When he brings you the toy, throw it back down the stairs. (Note: This only works for dogs who fetch and are in good enough shape to run up and down stairs a few times.)

Treadmills: Do you own a treadmill? If so, you can see if your pet enjoys it. Safety comes first, though. Be sure to take off Fido’s collar or harness. Start him on the slowest setting possible and keep a close eye on him. Stop as soon as your pet becomes fatigued. Finally, you should never leave your dog unsupervised. 

This may also work for Fluffy. Some kitties also utilize treadmills. Then again, others are more interested in napping on them than using them. (If you haven’t seen the popular video of Fluffy trotting along to Maniac from the Flashdance soundtrack, check it out. You will not be disappointed.) Again, safety first.

What Dog Breeds Are the Least Active?

Proper activity is essential for all of our canine friends. However, some pups need some encouragement to continue being active, especially as they get older. Saint Bernards, Chow Chows, Basset Hounds, and Mastiffs are a few dogs who get, well, a bit lazy.

Which Dog Breeds Need A Lot Of Exercise?

Fido’s age, breed, and health are all factors here. Some pups are clearly more active than others. If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, or have recently welcomed a puppy into your home, doing some breed research might be quite helpful.

Here are a few energetic dogs:

  • Border Collie
  • Boxer
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Siberian Husky

How Can I Keep My Aging Dog Active?

Fido’s activity needs will change as he gets older. He won’t have the same strength or stamina as before, and he’ll tire much more readily. Aging pups are also more vulnerable to excessive heat and cold.

Walking and playing are suitable activities for the majority of senior dogs. Take care not to overwork Fido. Keep a watchful eye on him and bring him in as soon as he shows any signs of fatigue.

How Do I Know What Activities Are Safe for Fido?

Every dog is different. The answer to this question will also change as your pet ages. Any health difficulties Fido has may also come into play. That said, there are certain general guidelines to follow.

Some dogs should not be encouraged to exercise vigorously. This primarily pertains to brachycephalic dogs like pugs and Boxers. Those pushed-in faces may be adorable, but they come at a tremendous cost to the puppies. These dogs’ air passageways are quite short, which makes it easy for them to lose their breath. Their physiology also makes it more difficult for them to cool down if they get hot, as panting is not very effective for them. If you have a brachy, do not encourage Fido to run or play vigorously. Swimming is also out of the question, but your pet may love wading or splashing in a sprinkler or canine fountain.

Speaking of swimming, it is also dangerous for little and toy breeds since they can easily get into trouble. It depends on how large the pooch is. Some of our canine pals, such as Labrador Retrievers, adore water and swim like fluffy, barking ducks. Others are better off keeping all four paws on solid ground. Swimming is not a good option for pups with long, thin torsos, like Corgis and Dachshunds; very large or small dogs; brachys; and any pooch that is scared of water.

Another factor that may limit Fido’s activity possibilities is the potential for hip dysplasia. This is extremely common in some breeds, such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, but any puppy might be affected. If your canine companion has or is in danger of developing  arthritis and/or hip dysplasia, your veterinarian and breeder may advise you not to encourage him to leap or stand on his hind legs. Your Dallas, GA veterinarian is an excellent resource for this. Ask for some specific tips.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Getting Too Tired?

Whatever activity you and your canine companion are up to, make sure Fido does not become overtired. Man’s Best Friend is extremely loyal and will go to great lengths to please his humans. Here are a few warning signals to look for:

  • Panting
  • Lagging behind
  • Drooling
  • Stumbling
  • Warm back
  • Discolored gums

If you notice any of them, immediately give your furry bestie some water and allow him to rest and catch his breath. Then go back home.

Do you have any queries about your dog’s activity needs? Contact us, your local Dallas, GA pet hospital, at any time!

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