How to exercise with your dog and get fit

How to exercise with your dog and get fit - woman doing yoga with dog

It’s important for dogs to get regular exercise for their mental and emotional health, just like humans. Your dog can make an excellent workout partner. There are many great ways to exercise with your dog, but different dogs need different amounts and kinds of daily exercise to keep healthy. Read on if you have ever wondered:

  • How much exercise does my dog need?
  • How will exercise benefit my dog?
  • What form of exercise can I do with my dog?
  • How should I start exercising with my dog?

With the wide variety of dog breeds, ages, and sizes, not all dogs are able to exercise the same way. All dogs benefit from exercise and should receive aerobic exercise every day. However, it is important to know what kinds of exercise are right for you and your dog, how much exercise your dog may need, and the steps you need to take to get started with an exercise routine.

How much exercise do dogs need?

Dogs have been bred over thousands of years for hunting, herding, and protection. Due to this lineage, dogs today need plenty of exercise to keep their bodies and minds happy and healthy. The exact amount of physical activity needed varies between dog breeds and sizes. In general, dogs need a minimum of thirty to sixty minutes of exercise a day. If you have a particularly athletic dog, they need more.

Flat-faced breeds dogs living with chronic illnesses like congestive heart failure, and elderly dogs are less able to cope with heavy exercise compared to a healthy young adult,” states Dr. Jo Myers, our own veterinary advisor and practicing Vetster vet. These dogs are more sensitive to heat and tire easily. Low-intensity exercise and light exercise, such as slower walks, help protect them from overheating and exhaustion. Follow your dog’s lead and don’t push them beyond what they’re eager to do. Learn the symptoms of heat stroke and signs of exhaustion before taking any dog outdoors for exercise.

How do dogs benefit from frequent exercise?

Exercise is important for heart, lung, and joint health. In addition, exercise provides mental stimulation which helps prevent boredom and stress. By allowing your dog to release their energy in a healthy way, you can limit destructive behaviors at home. Regular exercise with your dog will also help prevent obesity, heart disease, and arthritis. In addition, your dog will appreciate the added quality time they get to spend with you.

How can I exercise with my dog?

There are dozens of ways to exercise with your dog. Keep changing activities and provide a variety of exercises to keep your dog (and yourself!) interested and excited to participate. Daily walks are a great start, but try some of these other indoor and outdoor exercises to do with your dog.

Outdoor exercises to do with your dog

Exercising with your dog outside is a great way to provide mental stimulation and fresh air for your dog and yourself, as well as get fit together. Here are some outdoor activities to consider:

  • Hiking
  • Trail runs
  • Swimming
  • Roller blading
  • Tennis - serve and fetch
  • Skijoring

Indoor exercises to do with your dog

If you don’t have the time to leave home, or the weather is bad, try an indoor exercise or play some indoor games with your dog. It’s important to keep your dog, and yourself, moving. It’s good for your health and will enhance your emotional bond with your dog. Quick and fun activities indoors are a great form of exercise too, and wonderful for dogs who may get bored throughout the day. Indoor exercises with your dog can include:

  • Squats holding your dog
  • Hide and seek
  • Yoga (or “doga” with your dog)
  • Dancing
  • Pushups with your dog on your back (based on your level of fitness)
  • Wall sits holding your dog
  • A game of fetch

How can I start exercising with my dog?

First, start with a physical exam from your veterinarian to determine your dog’s fitness level. Depending on their age, breed, and size, your veterinarian may have some suggestions of exercises best for your dog, and what to avoid. Start slow and don’t push yourself or your dog too hard. It will only exhaust both of you and risk injury. To keep your dog safe outdoors, be sure they have basic obedience training and stop when they need a break. Always check the weather before going outside. Take precautions in hot weather and know the signs of heat stroke. Consult your veterinarian about what vaccinations and parasite prevention you need for your dog based on where you live and what activities you will be doing.

Find the right activity for your dog

Different breeds, ages, and sizes of dogs need different exercises to stay healthy. Consider your dog’s likes and dislikes. Is your dog afraid of water or leash reactive? These individual traits can limit what activities will be fun for you and your dog. In addition, if your dog is obese or arthritic, some exercises will be too difficult for them and you will need to decrease their activity level. Always start slow and monitor how they are feeling throughout the activity. If you would like to ask a vet about exercises for your dog, you can book an online virtual care appointment to make sure your furry friend stays happy and healthy.

FAQ - How to exercise with your dog and get fit

What exercises can I do with my dog?

There are dozens of exercises you can do with your dog. Always consult a veterinarian before beginning an exercise routine with your dog, and consider their age, breed, and size, as well as their individual likes and dislikes. Some dogs are more sensitive to heat or heavy exercise than others, such as flat-faced breeds, puppies, and elderly dogs.

How can I incorporate my dog into my workout routine?

Dogs benefit from cardiovascular exercise just like we do. To incorporate your dog into your routine, consider bringing your dog on a run or a hike. Your dog can also make a great weight for your squats, pushups, and wall sits. Always consult a veterinarian before adding your dog to your exercise program, especially if the activity is long or intense exercise.

How much exercise does a dog need a day?

Dogs need a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. However, if you have an athletic or highly energetic dog, it may require more exercise to remain happy and healthy. Both indoor dog exercises and outdoor activities can provide much-needed exercise for you and your dog.

How can I exercise with my dog indoors?

There are many ways to exercise indoors and incorporate your dog into the routine. Use your dog as a weight for wall sits, pushups, or squats. Play a classic game of hide and seek around your home. Or, simply get moving with your dog by dancing or playing a fun game of fetch inside. You’ll be workout buddies in no time!

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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