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A Complete Guide To Keeping Your Dog Fit And Healthy

How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need Everyday

As I became increasingly tired just watching my friend’s working cocker spaniel the other day, I began praying for a canine companion to appear. My charge needed a playmate who could move considerably faster than me! I was greatly relieved when a Dalmatian strolled up to me but it turned out that this particular Dalmatian was lazy!

As every other Dalmatian that I had ever met was like a tornado on legs, I was very surprised. This dog clearly wasn’t going to run the legs off the cocker and neither was my neighbour’s pooch Archie, a west highland terrier who takes several hours to make it to the end of our not particularly long street. Hyperactive dogs are a challenge’ but lazy dogs can be even worse. Just how do you entice them to get moving and to revel in the great outdoors?

Is Your Dog in Good Health?

Before you attribute your dog’s lack of action to laziness, it is worth checking that their enthusiasm failure isn’t due to a health condition. It could be that your furry friend is in pain or is feeling under the weather. Arthritis, thyroid issues, Lyme disease and anaemia could all cause a lack of interest in exercise. Age could also be a factor if you have a veteran pooch. Swimming is fabulous exercise for dogs with mobility issues so a trip to the nearest lake might be in order.

Start Slowly

If your dog has been living a sedentary life, don’t try to do too much too soon. Transitioning from days on the couch to 10 mile hikes in one step is a bad idea. Start with short walks and build up the distance you travel gradually. Your dog will simply dig its heels in if you go overboard at the start.

Don’t Force the Issue

If your pooch dislikes exercise, forcing it to walk will be counterproductive. Start with short strolls and try to make them fun. Reward your dog with a treat if they toe the line and never yank on their lead. If they begin to accept the brief outings, make your adventures a little longer every day. Allow them to stop in order to smell their surroundings and be alert for anything which scares them. Your dog might be resistant to walks simply because an aspect of being outside terrifies them. If you can find out what this is, you can gradually acclimatise your pet to the scary situation.

Make it Fun

It could be that your pooch has lost interest in walking because they find it boring. Up the fun factor with new toys to chase, games of hide and seek and varying your route. Take them to places that they haven’t seen before and allow them to explore. Your dog may enjoy canine company so visit places where there are usually lots of other dogs to play with. If your furry friend is timid around other dogs, socialisation classes might help them to come out of their shell.

Even the laziest pooch can be encouraged to enjoy taking the exercise they need. Getting them to walk further will improve their health and could well improve yours into the bargain.

Ways to excercise your dog:

Want to make sure your dog stays fit and healthy? There are a number of things you need to do for your dog if you want them to remain healthy. It’s helpful to keep an eye on your dog’s health and weight. There are a few different ways you can do this such as regular vet visits and keeping an eye out for any issues. Dogs also need a substantial amount of exercise in order to stay at an optimum weight. There are a number of different ways to keep your dog active. Read on to discover our complete guide to keeping your dog fit and healthy.

Walks

Obviously one of the best things you can do to keep your dog fit is to take them on regular walks. Make sure you are walking them for the correct amount of time based on their breed, age and size. Most dogs need at least one long walk a day.

Some of the more energetic breeds needs at least two long walks a day. Walks are crucial for dogs so that they can stretch their legs, burn off some energy and keep their mind active. If your dog is getting a bit overweight try and increase the time you walk them for on a daily basis.

Playing with toys

Playing with Dog Toys is another fantastic way of keeping your dog active. They can get rid of quite a lot of energy simply by messing around with their favourite toy. Playing tug of war and retrieval games with your dog is a good way to tire them out. If your dog loves to fetch a ball you can play this at home in your garden, around your house or out on walks.

Playing with other dogs

If your dog enjoys playing with other dogs then this is a fantastic way of keeping them agile and active. Try and find a ‘play buddy’ that your dog enjoys playing with and meeting up with them and their owner on a regular basis. Both your dogs will benefit from the high intensity exercise. You could also consider getting a second dog that your dog will enjoy playing with.

Swimming

If your dog has joint problems or can’t cope with high intensity exercise then swimming is the perfect activity. Swimming is a low impact activity that is excellent for keeping fit. Canine hydrotherapy is extremely popular at the moment because it has so many benefits. It can help with things such as weight loss, injury rehabilitation, circulation, muscle strength and improving mobility. Take your dog down to your local canine hydrotherapy centre or if they are a confident swimmer simply take them to a dog friendly lake or beach where they can swim in the sea.

Dog sports

One of the best ways to keep your dog active is to get them involved with a dog sport. These activities suit some dog breeds more than others. Find a sport that your dog enjoys and take them to classes on a regular basis. Some of the most popular canine sports include Agility, Flyball and cani X. If you have some spare time you could consider volunteering for a local search and rescue team. You will have to give up a lot of time to train your dog but it’s a great activity for both you and your dog.

Time in the garden

If you have an enclosed garden then letting your dog play and run around outside will help to keep them active. Let your dog out in the garden at regular intervals throughout the day. You can also go outside and play games with them such as hide and seek, fetch, tug of war and recall games.

Weigh your dog

Weigh your dog on a regular basis so that you can keep an eye on their weight. Sometimes it can be difficult to notice weight changes just by looking at your dog. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs but not see them. Check to see if their stomach is tucked up behind their ribcage. If your dog is a around about the right weight they should have an hourglass figure.

Regular vet checks

One way of keeping an eye on your dog’s health is to take them to the vet for regular check ups. The vet will give them a general health check, keep a record of their weight and let you know if there are any issues.

Take your dog to the vet as soon as an issue occurs

It is cruel to leave your dog to suffer for longer than necessary if they are ill or have an injury. Don’t delay taking your dog to the vet when they have a problem. Noticing when there is something wrong with your dog and getting them the treatment they need will help them to stay healthy.

Vaccinations

Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date to protect them from illness and disease. You should also get give your dog a flea treatment and worming tablets on a regular basis to keep them parasite free.

A good diet

A good diet is also an essential part of keeping your dog healthy. Choose a high quality, Complete Dog Food that will provide your dog with all the nutrients they require. Click here to see our complete dog food buying guide. It’s crucial that you feed your dog the correct amount and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Treats

We all love to treat our dogs. It sometimes almost impossible to resist their adorable puppy dog eyes. However, no matter how much you want to, you need to make sure you don’t feed your dog too many Treats. Some dog treats can be very high in fat and carbohydrates, if possible get some healthy treats for your dog to enjoy. Keep an eye on how many members of the family are giving your dog treats as you could be giving them too much without realising it.

Give your dog regular health checks

It’s a good idea to check your dog on a regular basis. Feel their entire body for any lumps and bumps. Check their eyes are clear and healthy, their ears are clean and free from infection and their teeth are clean and and not causing any discomfort.

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