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Keeping Your Canine Buddy Active

March 15, 2024

Is your pooch an energetic, bouncing ball of fur? Or have you got a four-legged couch potato on your hands? No matter which category your canine companion falls into, he’ll need regular physical activity in order to stay happy and healthy. Of course, dog workouts vary tremendously. A Watertown, WI veterinarian offers some advice on the subject below.

How Do I Know If My Pet Is Getting Enough Exercise?

Fido’s weight and bodily condition are two good indicators of this. If you’re unsure whether your furry friend is overweight, underweight, or just right, consult your Watertown, WI veterinarian.

There are also some behavioral cues here. Dogs who do not get adequate exercise are more likely to engage in undesired activities, such as digging and chewing. They may also be more rowdy. If your dog is acting up, he may not be getting enough exercise or stimulation.

How Can I Keep Fido Active Inside?

Sooner or later, bringing Fido out for more than a quick bathroom break will become unappealing. Whether it’s cold, raining, or both, your pet may become restless indoors. You can still keep your companion active inside!

Here are some options:

Stair runs: Go to the top of the stairs while holding Fido’s favorite toy. Call him to come to you. When he brings you the toy, toss it down the steps. (Note: this is only recommended for dogs who can fetch and are physically fit enough to run up and down stairs several times.)

Workout Buddy: If you exercise indoors, try including Fido into your regimen. Are you doing sit-ups? Grab a dog toy. Throw it while you’re sitting up. This can also work with lunges and, to some extent, leg lifts. (Our canine companions aren’t very good yoga partners, but they certainly make exercise more enjoyable.)

Fetch: If you have enough space, you can play fetch with Fido indoors. Be sure to avoid areas with breakable and/or potentially hazardous objects.

Walking/Running On A Treadmill: Do you own a treadmill? In that case, you might check to see if your companion enjoys it. However, safety comes first. Remove Fido’s collar or harness. Start him on the slowest setting and keep a close watch on him. Never leave your pooch alone on a treadmill, and take him off when he starts to get tired.

What Are The Most And Least Active Dog Breeds?

Your dog’s age, breed, and health all play a role here. Some puppies are undoubtedly more energetic than others. If you’re thinking about adopting a dog or if you’ve already got a puppy, doing some breed research can be quite helpful.

Here are some high-energy dogs:

  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collies
  • Boxer
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Dalmatian
  • German shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Siberian Husky

However, some pups need a little encouragement to stay active, especially as they get older. Saint Bernards, Chow Chows, Basset Hounds, and Mastiffs, to name a few, are examples of dogs that might become, well, furry couch potatoes.

How Do I Keep An Older Dog Active?

Fido’s activity requirements are going to shift as he ages. He won’t have the strength or stamina that he once did, and he’ll get worn out more quickly. Senior dogs are also more vulnerable to harsh heat and cold, which can be an issue.

Walking and playing are appropriate activities for many senior dogs. Swimming can be a good option for some pooches, as long as they actually like it and your vet gives you the thumbs-up. You will want to avoid overexerting Fido. Keep a watchful eye on him and bring him in when he begins to fatigue.

What Are Some Doggy Sports?

The AKC registry includes more than 200 breeds. Each of them was created to serve a specific purpose. (Even toy breeds have a job: looking cute!) Fido’s breed may reveal a lot about what he enjoys the most.

That being said, if you and your furry friend are adventurous and up for a challenge, here are a few dog activities you can try:

  • Dog Dancing
  • Skijoring
  • Skatejoring (skateboarding with your dog pulling you)
  • Dock diving
  • Agility
  • lure coursing
  • Earthdog
  • Flyball
  • Treibball
  • Canicourse (Running with Fido)
  • Hiking

Ask your veterinarian for particular advice on what might be best for Fido.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Getting Worn Out?

No matter what activity you and your canine companion are up to, it’s critical not to overtire Fido. Man’s Best Friend is exceedingly loyal and will go to great lengths to please his humans. Keep an eye out for signs that your pup is getting tired. Early warning signs to watch for include panting, drooling, lagging behind, and stumbling. If you see any of these symptoms, immediately give your dog water and let him rest. Ask your vet for more information. 

How Do I Get Fido to Be More Active?

Have you heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?” That is pretty accurate here. Fido’s opinions and preferences definitely matter. You’ll have a lot more success keeping your pooch in shape if you are doing something your dog appreciates. Consider Fetch, for example. Plenty of puppies learn this spontaneously. Others will just give you a sweet, puzzled look if you toss a stick or ball for them. You may need to experiment a bit to determine what your canine companion prefers.

Of course, walking is the norm here. Even taking your dog for a few short walks each day might help him stay in shape. You’ll benefit as well! 

How Do I Know What’s Safe for Fido?

The response to this question will change as your pet gets older. Every dog is unique! Your Watertown, WI veterinarian is a fantastic resource for this, so go ahead and get some specific advice.

However, there are a few general guidelines to follow.

Some dogs should never be encouraged to exercise excessively. Brachycephalic dogs, like pugs and Boxers, are a good example of this. Those pushed-in faces may be charming, but they come at a heavy cost to the pooch. Brachys have quite small air passages. Unfortunately, that means they can lose their breath very quickly. Their unique physiology also makes it more difficult for them to cool down if they become overheated, as panting is less effective for them than it is for most pooches. If you have a brachy, don’t push Fido to run or play hard. Swimming should likewise be prohibited, but your canine companion might like wading or splashing in a sprinkler or doggy fountain.

Another consideration that may limit Fido’s activity possibilities is the danger of hip dysplasia. This is unfortunately very common in specific breeds, such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, although any puppy might be affected. If your dog has arthritis or is in danger of developing hip dysplasia, your Watertown, WI veterinarian and breeder may advise against training him to jump or stand on his hind legs.

Is Swimming Good For My Dog?

That depends on the dog!  Some dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers, adore the water and adapt to it like fuzzy, barking ducks. However, swimming can be very dangerous for little and toy breed dogs since they are prone to getting into trouble. It’s also not suitable for brachys; many giant breeds; small and toy breeds; and pups with long, thin torsos, such as Corgis and Dachshunds. 

Do you have any queries concerning your dog’s activity requirements? Contact your nearest pet hospital at any time!