Jordan Walker knows the ins and outs of raising pets. He shares his pet passion and knowledge writing content for Coops And Cages and similar blogs. In this article, he discusses top tips on keeping dogs fit while having fun.
Regular exercise is important to a dog in many ways. Dogs that get their daily dose of fitness have a higher metabolism, a smaller appetite, and better muscle tone. Fit dogs have lower chances of canine obesity, which is a growing problem for other pets, as well. In addition, getting a dog exercised lessens chances for dogs to develop inappropriate behaviors like chewing, excessive barking, and indiscriminate peeing and pooing.
So, in many respects, dogs are like humans. They need good food and enough exercise to ward off illness and pudginess, as well as to look and feel great. But will they be as fussy about exercise, too?
Running Off Leash
Fortunately, dogs are animals that are fairly easy to please. Dogs live in the moment and take pleasure in the simplest things. One of the most wonderful occasions for a dog is when it can get out of its cage or get off its leash and be free to just run. An owner can see the change immediately. The dog perks up, gets excited, and runs enthusiastically everywhere. The best place to let a dog run off leash is a dog park. Dog parks create opportunities for socializing dogs and provide them instant furry playmates with the same energy level. It’s a great place to get a dog some exercise and fun with less exertion on the part of the owner. However, if an owner does want to interact with their dog, they can do so all within the dog park. Most parks don’t charge a fee, but they do somewhat strictly require dogs to be updated on their vaccines and free of illnesses that may spread to other dogs. Of course, some behavior training is desired to prevent fights.
Once upon a time, the dog’s ancestors had to hunt and forage for food. Contemporary canines have retained this instinct of using their nose and working to find their food. Pet owners can take advantage of this age-old impulse to keep their dogs’ senses in top condition and let them have fun in the process. Many doggie toys such as Kong rubber toy puzzles available on the market today are hollowed out in the middle, allowing for treats and small bite sizes of food to be stored. The toys are given to the dog as challenges to solve with food as reward at the end. When food is at stake, a pet owner can bet that a dog will pull out all stops to get to the bottom of any brainteaser. Kong toys come in several variations and colors, tailored for different dog ages and sizes. With chew toys, owners should make sure these are actually chew-proof (will not be gnawed to bits) and do not pose choking hazards for pets.
Another natural instinct of dogs is swimming. Dogs are born with the instinctive ability to swim. Although some dogs are wary of the water, others and certain breeds are much more drawn to it, knowing somehow that splashing means having fun. Owners can take advantage of a dog’s natural inclination to play in the water by adopting swimming as one of their dog’s means of exercise. Swimming is great aerobic conditioning but low-impact, which makes it great for elderly dogs or those dogs with joint problems.If they are just getting their paws wet, dogs should be first introduced to a shallow pool or pond. Once they get the hang of it though, they can be allowed free reign over the backyard pool. However, tight supervision should be exerted in lakes and beaches because of the potential drowning and other hazards. In addition, dogs should be rinsed off after playing in a chlorinated pool to prevent skin irritation.
Backyard games are perhaps the most fun activities that dogs can do in the name of fitness. In fact, these games can be fitness activities disguised as fun. The toys needed are basic, and even a few yards can be enough for the creative owner, depending on the toy used. Frisbee discs, balls, pull toys, and other interactive toys are the tools of choice. Dogs seem to have a natural talent for fetching stuff and will love to run after and fetch Frisbees and balls, especially if these happen to be their favorite toys, or even better, if they get a treat for every fetching feat. Owners can even build up their dog’s excitement by throwing the disc or ball but telling them to stay for several counts before letting them fetch the toy. At this point, the dog will literally jump off its feet and tearing after the toy. With such great incentives (favorite toys and tasty treats) involved, backyard sessions are also perfect for learning tricks.
Unfortunately, pet parents will have to go to work on some days and be unable to play with their furry bud. Even then, dogs will still need to get their daily dose of exercise and cannot just be left at home to their own devices. That is if owners don’t want their pets to get bored and get into mischief. A great, fun way to keep a dog active while away is to drop them off at a doggie daycare center. These centers provide a wide range of activities that provide fun and fitness for dogs of all ages and sizes. A great dog daycare will have staff who will know how to look after a dog’s needs, have separate areas to match age and size of their canine charges, and plenty of dog-friendly activities.
No matter what the fun activity is, it should be tailored to fit the dog’s needs and physical conditions. Dogs are individuals, each with its unique health requirements. Owners should also ensure that they are there for their dogs and having fun with them, or even better, exercising with their dogs. At the end of the day, dogs are dogs and will always love a chance to have fun.But what they will love most about their day is that they spent it with their human, which always makes the day and everything else in it extra special.
Author: Jordan Walker
Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for 'attempting' to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages.