According to a recent pet owners survey, there were close to 90 million dogs living in U.S. homes in 2017 – a whopping 20% increase over the course of less than a decade. Dog owners get to experience the joy, companionship and unconditional love of their fur babies – but much like their non-fur baby counterparts, with the many benefits of dog ownership comes a responsibility that is not to be taken lightly. Your commitment to the health and well-being of your dog over the course of their life should be a key factor in the decision to parent a pup. All breeds – from Great Danes to Miniature Chihuahuas and everything in between – need a healthy diet and the right exercise regimen to live a long and happy life.
Exercising your dog regularly has a multitude of health benefits from helping hip joints, reducing digestive problems, managing weight and solving many behavioral issues. If you are bored of the same old daily dog walks, here are some unique ways to make sure your dog is getting the workout he needs to life a long and happy life!
Good old-fashioned cardio is just as good for your pooch as it is for you
Just like us humans are enjoying an explosion of unique and innovative ways to burn those calories, there are many creative ways to get in your dog’s daily dose of cardio. No, Soul Cycle for pooches hasn’t quite taken off (yet), but there are many alternative ways to get your dog’s hearts racing beyond your routine dog walk around the block.
It could be as simple as switching up the monotony of your daily dog walk with a “follow the dog” twist. Letting your dog take charge and allowing him (safely) to follow wherever his nose may lead gives your dog some much-needed autonomy and freedom to engage his natural instincts. Kick it up a notch by taking him for a run if that’s something he enjoys.
If you aren’t up for a two-a-day and have already hit your daily calorie burn quota, a game of “Keep Away”, where you throw an item to be fetched as you binge Netflix from the couch, is a great way to get some extra cardio in for your pooch.
If you are looking for something even more unique, try finding a local FlyBall group – think American Ninja Warrior for dogs – a sport that is quickly gaining in popularity. You should also take advantage of any agility features found in your local dog park. Not only do these unique ways of exercising get your dog moving, they are great for confidence and skill-building, too.
Just like their humans, dogs need mental exercise as well
Dogs have an innate need to engage their instincts beyond just the physical. Spending time with your pooch and experimenting with his more primal side will be beneficial to you both. While scent tracking comes easy for hunter breeds, all dogs can benefit from tapping into those inner instincts to track a scent. Similarly, simple tasks like hiding treats in boxes and encouraging a hunt is great for strengthening your dog’s innate scent capacity. He is working out his body and his mind as he gets better and better as he runs, jumps and prances around while tracking those treats. The self-care movement that is sweeping the nation has gone to the dogs.
Your dog wants some post-workout relaxation just like you do! Learning some techniques for properly massaging your dog can go along way to ease their muscles while creating a special, unique way to bond.
Dog massages can improve muscle tone, flexibility, and range of motion while reducing stress and anxiety.
Remember that the amount of exercise your dog needs will depend on his physical ability and breed, so check with your vet to make sure you understand those needs. Each and every dog deserves to have their owner committed to making exercise fun and exciting, plus it’s a great way to strengthen that already beautiful bond!
Posted on July 13, 2019