Did you know April is Active Dog Month? As the weather changes and we head towards summer, it’s a great time to shake off the winter blues, get outside and be active with your dog!
Just like humans, dogs need exercise. Why? Physical activity not only helps keep our dogs healthy by reducing the risk of health problems like obesity, but it also provides mental stimulation that all dogs need. Just remember, a happy dog is a tired dog!
Need some fresh ideas on how to stay active with your dog? Here’s a list of 10 activities you and your four-legged friend can enjoy together!
- Play chase with your dog. Seems simple enough. Your pup will love running around the backyard playing a game of chase with you.
- Practice agility. Whether you set up a homemade obstacle course, or make regular visits to a local dog park with an agility course, regular agility training has both mental and physical benefits for dogs.
- Go for a swim. Most dogs love water, and on a warm spring or hot summer day, a jump in the pool or lake is a great way to cool off and have some fun. Swimming is gentle for your dog’s joints, and easier on their paws, too. Don’t have access to a big pool? Grab a plastic kiddie pool and provide a spot for your pup to chill in the water. Just be sure when the swimming is over to get your dog’s ears good and dry.
- Play chase with a laser pointer. Take your dog outside at night with a laser pointer and watch as your pup dashes all over the yard trying to catch the laser. Be sure to keep the laser pointed at the ground, and not at your dog.
- Enjoy a game of fetch. Grab the frisbee, ball or another toy and get your dog moving with a game of fetch. Get some exercise in for yourself, too by running around the yard while you play.
- Play hide and seek. It’s not just a game for kids! Dogs will love playing hide and seek. This can be a game for the whole family! Have one person distract your dog while another person hides. Then release your pup to wander around as they “hunt” for you.
- Take a hike. Take your dog out to a local park or nature center for a hike in new surroundings. Check the park rules as some parks allow dogs to be off-leash in certain areas.
- Do some doggy yoga. Yes, it’s a thing! Doggy yoga (also called Doga) is a great way to exercise with your dog. Check out this video for some introductory yoga stretches you can do with your dog.
- Go for a trail run. Just like running on an uneven terrain is good for your own physical training, it can be beneficial for your pup, too. Trails are often easier on your dog’s sensitive paws than hard concrete trails.
- Play tennis together. Ok, your pup probably isn’t going to pick up a racquet, but you can turn practicing your serve into a game of fetch for your dog!
Most dogs (depending on age and breed) need at least one to two hours of exercise each day. While you may not be able to devote that much time to exercising with your pet, it’s important to fit exercise in when you can. If you’re headed out for a jog, take your dog along with you. Find ways to fit exercise for you and your pup into your daily routine and you’ll both reap the benefits!