Just like we do, dogs need regular exercise to stay physically fit and mentally healthy. It doesn't always mean a grand hiking trip (although that would be a lot of fun) or a strenuous run. It could simply be an hour-long play session in the backyard or a long walk allowing him to stop and smell all those smells dogs seem to love. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing with your dog as long as those canine legs get stretched.
There are many benefits to making sure your dog gets regular exercise, just like for humans. Here are some that we feel are most noteworthy:
1) Exercise is Stress Relieving
When we exercise, our brains produce and release endorphins that make us feel happy and energetic. Well, dogs also experience this "high” when they engage in physical activity because endorphins also flood their bloodstream.
Endorphins are those “feel good” hormones that act as the body’s natural mood enhancer. Have you ever wondered why your dog loves getting his ears or stomach rubbed? It’s because you’re stimulating that part of his brain that makes endorphins. Exercise does the same thing.
2) Exercise Helps The Gastrointestinal System
Exercise helps the gastrointestinal system function more efficiently. So exercise may prevent GI disorders from compromising his health. Here's why:
Exercise promotes regular “bathroom” activity which helps to reduce harmful bacteria levels in a dog’s urinary tract as well as episodes of constipation or diarrhea.
Another bonus in the topic of bowel movements would be that there's less poop in your backyard if they get their business done while you are on a walk! However, be courteous and pick up your dog's mess to keep things clean.
3) Exercise Prevents Obesity
Chubby dogs may look cute and seem happy but their range of motion is restricted, and the extra weight puts unnecessary stress on their body. As cute as it looks to us, dogs did not evolve to be couch potatoes and eat human junk food. They were bred to work with and for humans, eat lean meat, keep herds of livestock from straying and chase away predators.
Consequently, many overweight dogs will now suffer the same chronic diseases overweight humans suffer, such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis. Making sure your dog gets daily activity will certainly help, combining activity with a healthy diet.
4) Helps End Bad Behaviors
Just like small children can get bored and fidgety they get if they can’t play and run off all that excess energy, dogs do too!
I can't tell you how many times we get dogs surrendered to the rescue due to behavioral problems, only to hear they were crated all day and expected to lay down and be good once let out. We get puppies returned once they pass that sweet tiny puppy cuteness phase and that larger puppy now wants to chew and jump over couches. These dogs simply need an outlet and time to learn what is expected of them in the house and that play is when they get to go for hikes, or walks, runs and play fetch! Some problems could
– Chew on anything and everything.
– Dig holes in the yard.
– Bark and whine for no discernible reason.
– Scratch and bite incessantly (even if he doesn’t have fleas or skin/coat problems).
– Engage in generally destructive behavior.
Getting your dog out for a nice walk or for playtime at the park gets rid of some energy and brings back your “good” dog!
5) Strengthens Your Bond
Spending time with your pet is extremely important. It strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It can lead to a strong, trusting relationship. Have you notice when you walk your dog, that in between his sniffing of random bushes and trash cans that he looks back to see that you are still with him? Your dog wants to enjoy his favorite moments with him. So head out and walk your dog to strengthen your bond and your bodies!
Keep in mind that different dog breeds need different amounts of exercise. For example, sporting/herding dogs, like collies, German shepherds and retrievers, would do well with two hours of vigorous exercise every day. Smaller herding dogs like terriers would do well with 60 minutes.
Certain breeds have a tendency to gain weight more than others such as Toy breeds (like Chihuahuas and poodles), bulldogs and pugs. These types of breeds are usually indoor dogs that do not receive enough exercise. Playing fetch or tug o’ war several times a day with these dog breeds can help prevent weight gain and keep them healthy.
So get out there and build a great relationship with your dog while keep him (and you) healthy, happy and without the stress of a problematic dog!
* Keep in mind, that in summer months it can be really hot on the pavement and be very painful and damaging for your dog's paws. So, during this time, try and get out in the early morning or in the evening,.to spare your dogs paws.