Importance of Exercise for Dogs
We’ll just come right on out and say it. If your pet is overweight, you’ll want to read about the importance of exercise for dogs. Exercise helps maintain an ideal weight and makes for a happy pup. Most importantly, remember that just like humans, there are health risks when your dog is overweight.
Is My Dog Overweight?
It can be difficult to know if your dog is overweight just by looking at them. We recommend making an appointment with your vet to find out. As a rule of thumb, a Labrador retriever should be between 65-80lbs. A shih tzus, however, should be between 8-16lbs.
Your vet will be able to discuss your dog’s ideal weight goal along with their current weight. This info will allow you to start thinking about the adjustments that may need to be made.
Obesity in Dogs
Obesity and exercise for pets are usually mutually exclusive. Your dog most likely won’t be overweight if they exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Obesity is the number one health threat pets face, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
There are other factors, of course, that contribute to obesity in dogs. For instance, their daily caloric intake. As an example, if a 70lb. dog is eating more than 1,400 calories per day (when they should only be eating 900 – 1,050), they will gain weight even if exercising regularly.
Please also be aware that there are some health issues that could be leading to your dog’s weight that exercise and diet cannot control. Seeking the attention of your vet is advised.
Why a Healthy Weight is Important
When your dog is overweight, it is only a matter of time before they develop an unpleasant or serious medical condition. Not to mention, your dog doesn’t feel good when they have as few as five extra pounds to carry around. Some conditions that exercise for dogs will help them avoid are:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Respiratory and Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Chronic Inflammation
- Forms of Cancer (especially intra-abdominal)
- Shorter Life Span
Exercise for Dogs: How Much Does My Pup Need?
Remember when your dog was a puppy? Did they ever get the ‘zoomies’? Puppies usually have more energy than adult dogs. Therefore, they need more exercise in short bursts to get their exercise needs fulfilled. It’s best with puppies to keep to short bursts of exercise rather than one long activity. Every puppy is different, of course. Speaking to your vet about an appropriate amount of daily activity is a good place to start.
An adult dog’s exercise need is influenced by their breed. For instance, high-energy breeds like Border Collies require a lot more exercise than that of a short slow bulldog. If you’re more of a couch potato than a Cross Fit competitor, your Border Collie may need some daily walk/activity assistance from us at Posh Paws Pet Care.
Senior dogs need exercise, too. However, exercise for dogs that are older will look a little different than before. You may need to restrain a run to a walk. Or your mile walk may be limited to half a mile.
Regardless of their age or breed, find something that your dog enjoys. If your dog doesn’t enjoy walking, throw the ball instead. Some dogs were made to retrieve and will do it until you tell them to stop. Some dogs love to swim, while others hate the beach.
Finally, consult your veterinarian before initiating any changes in diet or physical fitness plan for your dog.
Exercise for Dogs is Difficult When They Are Overweight
Whatever changes you implement, remember that any level of activity will be more difficult for a pup that is overweight. Overweight dogs are more prone to injuries and have a harder time cooling off. Be kind as they embark on their new activity level.