How to include your dog in your exercise routine

How to include your dog in your exercise routine - woman doing yoga with dog

Dogs require daily physical activity to stay healthy, just like people do. Including your dog in your exercise routine is an excellent way to provide much-needed mental stimulation and physical activity for them. Read on to find the answers to questions such as:

  • How much should I exercise with my dog?
  • Why should I exercise with my dog?
  • What activities can my dog and I do together to exercise?
  • How can I create a new exercise routine with my dog?

Daily walks or a classic game of fetch are great options for exercise. However, it can be fun and motivating to get creative and include your dog in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities you enjoy that provide regular exercise.

How much daily exercise do dogs need?

“The amount of exercise that dogs need on a daily basis varies based on their breed, age, energy level, and overall health,” explains Jo Myers, a Vetster veterinarian. “In general, dogs require a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Providing more than that usually helps them thrive and truly enjoy their life.” Puppies under a year old require more frequent opportunities to exercise at shorter intervals, while flat-faced breeds, senior dogs, and dogs with chronic illnesses may require shorter exercise sessions or less athletic activities.

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What are the benefits of exercising with your dog?

Exercise and energetic play provide physical and mental benefits for both dog owners and their furry friends. Physical exercise can:

  • Provide mental stimulation and reduce stress
  • Reduce the risk of obesity
  • Improve heart and lung health
  • Help prevent arthritis and other joint diseases

Dogs who play and exercise frequently are less likely to become bored and participate in destructive behaviors around the home. Regular exercise also helps prevent canine obesity and the many conditions that go along with it. Exercising with your dog can also keep you motivated and help create a stronger emotional bond.

How do I get physical exercise with my dog?

There are plenty of ways pet parents can exercise with their dogs to stay physically fit and improve mental health. While a classic walk or game of fetch are excellent forms of exercise, providing a variety of indoor and outdoor activities helps keep things interesting and fun for both dogs and owners.

Outdoor activities

Include your dog in your favorite outdoor exercises or start a new active hobby with your dog. Great outdoor exercises include:

  • Hiking
  • Trail running
  • Swimming
  • Rollerblading
  • Serve-and-fetch tennis
  • Skijoring
  • Paddle sports

Always take the proper safety precautions when exercising in poor weather or around water. Bring plenty of water on walks or hikes and stop to rest when your dog appears tired. Keep your dog on year-round parasite prevention and check for ticks after a fun day in the woods or on trails.

Indoor exercises

Decreased exercise due to bad weather is common and can have negative effects on both dogs and people. Indoor physical activity can help both physical and mental health when the weather is too hot or cold to enjoy the outdoors. Indoor exercises can include:

  • Squats or wall sits while holding your dog
  • Stair climbing
  • Hide and seek
  • Yoga with your dog, also called “doga”
  • Dancing
  • Pushups with your dog on your back
  • A game of fetch or tug
  • Joining your dog on the floor to play with toys

Using your dog safely as a weight for various exercises is a great way to include your dog in your indoor exercise routine. Dogs can also get plenty of exercise by playing with balls and other toys in the home with their owners.

How can I develop a workout routine with my dog?

There are many ways you can create an exercise routine with your dog as your workout buddy. You can include your dog in your pre-existing fitness routine or create a new one to better fit your dog’s personality. Use your dog as a weight or bring them along on runs, hikes, and kayaking trips. Working out with your dog can make exercising more fun and motivating for you while also giving your dog regular exercise to keep them healthy.

Consider your dog’s interests

Don’t push your dog into an activity that they won’t enjoy. For example, a dog with a fear of water would not enjoy kayaking or swimming. Instead, learn their preferences by trying new things and stopping if needed.

Try new forms of exercise

Adding a variety of activities keeps exercise sessions fun and motivating. In addition, trying new activities and exercises helps you learn more about your dog’s likes and dislikes. Some activities cannot be done year-round, so you may need to rotate activities when the seasons change. Developing new active hobbies that include your dog, such as agility training, obstacle courses, or canine freestyle, provides excellent exercise for dogs and can be fun for you as well.

Determine your fitness levels

When starting a new exercise program with your dog, it is important to know your dog’s fitness level as well as your own in order to stay safe. Talk with a veterinarian and your doctor about what exercises and activities would be appropriate for you and your dog to start with. Don’t push yourself or your dog too hard, and rest when needed. Various medical conditions can restrict what you or your dog can do, and a veterinarian or doctor can help you choose good exercise options. If you would like to know what exercises are appropriate for your dog, you can connect with a nearby online vet who can help you create an exercise program.

FAQ - How to include your dog in your exercise routine

Is it good to exercise with your dog?

Exercising with your dog is a great way to improve your physical health as well as take care of your dog’s physical and mental health. Physical and mental stimulation from a fun game of tug or fetch, daily walks, or your favorite workouts or activities can help you both stay healthy and provide a stronger bond.

What is the best exercise for dogs?

Every dog is different and has different exercise requirements and preferences. Base your canine companion’s exercise routine on their activity level, age, breed, and any underlying medical issues they may have. Senior dogs may require more low-impact exercises to protect their joint health, while younger dogs may tolerate more intense exercise. Talk with a vet to see what kind of exercise is right for your dog.

How can I incorporate my dog into my exercise routine?

You can include your dog in your daily routine by using them as weights for exercises, such as wall sits and planks, or bring them along when you participate in your favorite outdoor activities. Dogs can join in on hikes, swims, trail runs, and many other sports activities.

How much physical activity do dogs need?

A dog’s exercise requirement varies based on breed, age, overall health, and energy level. In general, dogs require a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day. However, some high-energy breeds benefit from multiple hours of exercise every day to release excess energy.

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.
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