Exercise and play for your dog

Regular exercise and play for your dog is vital for health and well-being. It is good for both mind and body. The benefits of exercise are well known and include improved bone and joint health, improved circulation and tissue oxygenation which enhances the removal of toxins from the body, improved digestion and elimination, and maintenance of a healthy weight. Exercise and play also help meet your dog’s social needs. Dogs like humans need a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous daily exercise. Taking a dog for a walk is a good way to accomplish a limited amount of exercise, but will not fulfill your dogs exercise and play requirements.

Weekly playtime with a group of friendly, well-socialized dogs is a great way to tire out your dog. Enroll your dog in a training class that provides supervised play, consider taking your dog to "doggie day care" or visit a dog park. Allowing your dog plenty of opportunities to play contributes to his health and well-being.

Offer toys that exercise the mind as well as the body. What appeals to one dog may not appeal to another. Make sure the toys you give your pet are safe for biting and chewing. Avoid toys that are small enough to choke on or swallow. Make sure the toys have no attachments that can be chewed off and ingested. Try rotating toys, offering different ones every few days.
Insufficient exercise and play can lead to boredom and result in problem behaviors including chewing, digging, hyperactivity, garbage raiding, and attention seeking behaviors. It is especially important to meet your dogs exercise requirements prior to leaving the dog alone for an extended period of time or prior to lengthy crating.

Moderation is important when it comes to exercise. Excessive or inappropriate exercise can cause harm. Jumping high to chase a toy and landing awkwardly has caused many dogs crippling injuries. Too much exercise for young, growing dogs can result in developmental bone disease and permanent damage. Any dog under one year of age should not be asked to do rigorous exercise such as jogging with their owner. Start gradually with any new exercise. Include warm up and cool down time and always make sure there is plenty of fresh water available. Consult your veterinarian before you start any rigorous exercise program with your dog.

Remember dogs like humans can experience heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Dogs do not have an efficient body-cooling system and young and old dogs have even poorer temperature regulating abilities. Dogs with shortened muzzles, black dogs in the sun and long haired dogs are at greatly increased risk of overheating. Click here for some summer dog care tips

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