Just like their human owners, in order to stay healthy dogs need a combination of a nutritious diet, lots of love, and plenty of exercise. At East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, we understand your dog is meant to be active. Without exercise and play, their health and well-being will suffer. But just how much exercise does your dog need?

The Ancestry of Your Dog

Modern dogs are the offspring of their ancient, wild ancestor, the wolf. From scavenging for food to defending their territory, dogs originally had extremely active and social lifestyles. But as dogs were domesticated their daily routines became more sedentary. Certain types were bred to hunt or to work the farm for their master. But as a whole, domesticated dogs were relegated to becoming house pets, and their exercise was reduced to an occasional walk.

Results From Lack of Activity

As animal lovers and pet owners ourselves, we emphasize the importance of understanding how much exercise and activity your pet will require before committing to be a dog owner. If you spend long days away from home or are too busy to let your dog out, he builds up energy. And unfortunately, without a release, he may begin to act out. In addition, he may gain weight, which could lead to a number of other health problems.

Here are a few signs your dog could be begging for some exercise and play:

  • He is hyperactive, excitable, and active during nighttime hours
  • He acts in destructive ways, like scratching, digging, and chewing
  • He is overly curious and gets into trouble
  • He is too aggressive in his play with other dogs or humans, and may bite
  • He is unruly, knocking things over and jumping on people
  • He displays attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining

The Benefits of Exercise and Play

Regular and appropriate activity can have tremendous health advantages for your dog. Here are a few of the benefits of exercising your pooch:

  • Calming unwanted behaviors (like those listed above)
  • Maintaining muscular strength and agility
  • Keeping the digestive system on track
  • Increasing your bond—dogs are very social creatures and love to play!

So How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

When it comes to exercise, the kind of activity you choose for your dog depends on age, size, and breed. Puppies will need shorter bursts of activity somewhat regularly. Smaller dogs with shorter legs won’t need as much exercise as their larger, long-legged counterparts. Breeds with flat noses can have trouble breathing and should not undertake too much extended, strenuous activity. Senior dogs will require a more gentle walk or play, but still need functional movement to keep their bones, joints, and entire body healthy.

Luckily, it’s wintertime in Phoenix, and that means it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and take your pup along. Whether it’s a dog-friendly trail hike, a romp in the dog park, or a long evening stroll, if you’re looking for some creative ways to have some fun with Fido, check out this link. And if you’re unsure whether a particular activity will be beneficial for your dog, don’t hesitate to ask one of our skilled veterinarians at East Valley Animal Hospital. We love to see your pets happy and healthy!


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/31/2018) Pixaby