Food, toilet, walk. If you think it’s as easy as that to keep your dog fit, you’re wrong. Give your dog the healthy life it deserves – read on to find out how.
It’s impossible to apply a blanket rule about exercise for dogs. After all, just like us, different ages and sizes of dogs will have different needs. But with our expert knowledge on the traits and behaviour of almost every breed, we can help you figure out what suits yours best.
Where did you come from, baby?
One of the first things to consider is what your pooch was bred for originally. It’s a common misconception that larger dogs need more exercise than smaller dogs. What matters is where they came from when deciding on how to keep them active.
So for a greyhound or lurcher, a few short off-lead sprints a day will do them more good than a long lead walk – they need the speed to enjoy themselves. Retrievers (and the clue is in the name) love playing fetch, so you could while away hours while you just sit in a chair.
Terriers love to dig and so a good long off-lead sniff session is their preferred activity, while dogs like border collies need plenty of mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Sheep dogs – including corgis – are highly intelligent and would benefit from obedience and agility classes to stop them getting bored.
Off the lead
Unsurprisingly, human speed isn’t a natural pace for dogs. Letting them stretch their legs off the lead for half an hour will do them more good than a stroll through the city.
But letting your dog off the lead means you need to have done some training first. Check your dog will return to you when it’s called or you could be in for a bad end to a day. Or you could get in trouble – lots of places insist you keep your dog on a lead, so look out for the signs.
Short bursts of exercise will keep puppies in shape and help them build strong muscles. But remember: their joints and bones are still quite soft so games that involve twists and turns can hurt them. They’ll also want to flop down for plenty of naps throughout the day, so a long walk is probably not for them.
Plenty of regular but gentle exercise will keep your dog fit as they enter their golden years. Keeping them mobile as they age is essential if you want to avoid illnesses and stiffness. If you’ve got dogs of differing ages, remember that your oldie will need shorter, gentler walks than a young ‘un.
Don’t push it
You’ll soon get to know when your dog has had the right amount of exercise – and PoochPlay will help you figure it all out. If you’re trying to get an overweight dog back in shape, remember to build it up slowly. Imagine if you’d never done anything more strenuous than a fifteen minute stroll then getting forced on a 10mile run? Do it gradually, and you’ll dog will be beating their personal best in no time.
Hit the water
Of course it’s not just walking and running that can get your dog in shape. Swimming is a brilliant way to exercise your pooch – especially if they’re a bit older. The low impact, high resistance nature of a decent swim can build strength and muscle without straining aching joints.
Mixing up the types – and destinations – of exercise will keep your dog stimulated and excited about going outside. The PoochPlay app will remind you when it’s time for a run or let you know when your puppy’s had enough. Download now and jump into a healthy lifestyle (four) feet first!