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Exercise for Dogs and Puppies

dogsDogs and Puppies love to exercise.  It is a good way to build relationship with your pooch and it will keep them healthy and happy for a lifetime.  Dogs were born to hunt, and spend their lives very actively taking care of their needs.  Today however, dogs don’t have to work for their food or comfort.  Some dogs spend most of their day on a couch or alone in their crate.

Why Exercising is Great For Your Dog

Just like people, dogs that lead very sedentary lifestyles will end up with obesity related diseases.  Exercise and a good diet will enhance the chances for good physical development.  Exercise can help your dog avoid arthritis and other joint-related problems later in life too.

Many dogs have been labeled as “hyper” or “bad” simply because they don’t get enough exercise.  Exercising your dog will help him behave better.  Problems like chewing, digging and endless barking are often the result of boredom.

Physical exercised can help your dog physically and emotionally but teaching your dog new tricks will keep his mind alert and help with his psychological well being as well.  This type of exercise is just as important for your dog but it is often overlooked.

Types Of Exercising

Many people think exercising your dog is just walking them on a leash.  This is a great start, but there are many other ways to exercise too.  Once your puppy is about 6 weeks of age he can begin taking short walks.  Older dogs that have been sick or are overweight should also start out slow.  It is good no matter what condition your dog is in to watch for signs of exhaustion, overheating or dehydration.  Dogs can overheat more quickly than people.

Some breeds will love to run or jog with you.  Again you will want to keep your dog’s needs first, even if that means he will slow you down.  Dogs also enjoy swimming, jumping and running through obstacle courses.

You can play fetch with your dog or play with different toys.  Dogs love to go after moving objects.  This is a great way to exercise your dog without getting too much exercise yourself.  Throwing a Frisbee is great exercise too and can be quite enjoyable as you watch your dog jumping up to catch it.  If you’re starting with a puppy, remember to start with soft toys that will be better for his teeth and mouth.  Avoid sticks and bones when you’re playing as they can cause injury.  Don’t ever force your dog to do anything.  Playtime should be a fun time for both of you.

Group Exercising For Dogs

In almost every town you will find a good dog park.  They are great places to provide your dog socialization and exercise.  Dogs naturally get a good work out, when they are playing with other dogs.

You can also join classes or sports for your dog.  Agility classes, flyball sports, tracking, hunting and freestyle dancing are just some of the opportunities your dog will have to participate and possibly compete with other dogs.

Before starting any exercise program it is always a good idea to see your veterinarian at Locust Trace Veterinary Clinic.  They will be able to tell you if your pooch can handle the exercise.  Some breeds in particular have special issues that your veterinarian will advise you about.  The overall health, age and condition of your dog will determine what exercises will be good for him or her.  If you have any questions about exercise, please call Locust Trace Veterinary Clinic at  (859) 225-0303