Are you ready to take a walk? January is ‘Walk Your Dog Month”, and one of the best ways to keep your furry friend healthy and happy is to stay on top of their exercise. But how many steps should your dog take every day? Dogs don’t wear Apple Watches, so tracking how much activity they’re actually getting can be hard. Let’s look at the importance of creating an exercise routine for your dog and how many steps they should take each day.
Keeping Your Dog Healthy for a Long and Happy Life
You need to make sure your dog gets enough exercise and movement each day, as this helps keep them healthy and happy. Depending on the breed and size of your dog, they will require different levels of activity. Sticking to a consistent exercise routine can help your pup stay fit and reduce the risk of obesity or other health issues.
During the winter months, Tucson can be really pleasant outdoors. So take advantage! This could range from daily walks to playing fetch or even taking long hikes. In the summer months, you’ll need to keep the steps going, but take some extra precautions to keep you and your dog hydrated.
Remember to plan for rest throughout the day, especially if you take longer walks. Also, consider how old your dog is. If you have an older dog, allow them more rest breaks, as they might not be able to handle the same level of activity as younger dogs. Same for smaller dogs compared to bigger ones. Smaller dogs may get tired faster.
Benefits of Regular Exercise for Your Dog
Regular exercise for your dog is beneficial not only for their physical health but their mental health as well. Dogs need physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Regular walks, playtime, and exploring will keep your pup mentally stimulated. This helps reduce stress and improve their overall mood. Exercise also helps strengthen the bond between you and your pup, as it's a great way to spend quality time together.
Aside from the mental benefits, regular exercise helps your pup maintain a healthy weight. It also helps boost their immune system and improves digestion. With more activity, their muscles will get stronger, and their bones will also become stronger. All these benefits are important parts of keeping your pup feeling great for many years.
When it comes to how much exercise your pup needs, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The amount of activity your dog needs will vary based on age, breed, and overall health. Generally speaking, younger dogs need more exercise than older ones, and active breeds like Labradors may need more exercise than more sedentary breeds like Shih Tzus. If you are unsure, it's best to start slow with your pup and gradually increase their activity level as you both get used to the new routine. When they get tired…give them a break!
Related Read: How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need Every Day?
Ways to Get Your Dog's Steps In
Consider just throwing a ball for your dog every morning and evening. You can do this indoors or outdoors. Using two balls for this exercise is handy so that they’ll drop one and chase the other. This can keep them on a running loop for several minutes! Other than regular walks and playtime, you can get your dog moving by participating in hiking, swimming, and agility training.
Regular walks, playtime, and activities can create a routine and help your dog stay in shape. It's even possible to supplement exercise with a treadmill for dogs.
You can also get creative with what you can do at home to help keep your dog on track! You may have noticed that we talk a lot about walking and playing. One great way to combine these two ideas is making an obstacle course out of household items — you can use anything from blankets, socks, or pillows! You may have already tried this idea before with children, but it's just as entertaining for dogs too! Try setting up the course so three obstacles are set up in a row. Once your dog completes the first obstacle, they will go onto the second one until reaching the third one, where a reward will be waiting for them— their favorite toy or food dish!
Another good way to help get your dog’s steps in is with mental exercises. Continue stimulating your dog’s mind while gettings their workout in with fun interactive toys, like treat dispensing toys that allow them to sniff out treats, play hide and seek or use a digging box that gives your dog a specific place to bury and hide their belongings.
If you are looking for more ways to get your dog’s steps in, check out these 9 fun ways to play with your dog.
Related Reading: How to Keep Your Dog Active and 5 Ways to Keep Your Senior Dog Active
Sign Them Up for Doggy Daycare
Consider signing your dog up for doggy daycare. If you’re in the office a lot or unable to take the dog for walks, this can be a great way to keep your pet active and get their steps in while you’re away. The playtime and chance for outdoor activity will help both physically and mentally with benefits such as:
- Reducing separation anxiety
- Reducing destructive behaviors
- Boosting basic command skills
- Building confidence with other dogs and humans
- Reducing social fears
Dogs that go to daycare tend to walk upwards of 30,000 steps per day versus dogs that stay at home and get less than 10,000 steps in. Signing up for daycare also means you'll have more peace of mind knowing they're getting the proper attention from staff. Learn more about doggy daycare and if it is the right fit for your dog.
For pet parents in the Tucson area, call Central Pet or request your dog’s spot in doggy daycare. Our professional staff gives love and attention to each of our doggy friends to make sure they get stimulation and movement throughout their days.
If you need doggy daycare just on certain days of the week while exercising your dog on other days, that’s fine too. We know it isn't easy getting regular exercise for your dog. Let us help!