Do you want your dog to be healthy and happy? Here’s why exercise is so important and the best exercise equipment to buy for your dog.
Just like people, dogs need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. As humans, our mental health is linked to our physical health, and the same goes for dogs. By exercising our dogs regularly, we can take care of their health and ours too!
Usually, dogs need between 1 and 2 hours of exercise daily, depending on their breed and age. To learn about exercising your dog, including the best pieces of equipment that we recommend for exercising your dog, keep reading! Your pup will be grateful for the new experiences you introduce to him.
Is Exercising Your Dog Important?
Exercising your dog is essential to ensure their physical health and mental health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of walking per week to maintain good physical health, dog walking is a great way to get those waking minutes in. And, when your dog is tired, they will be calmer too.
Physical Health Benefits
Let's look at some of the physical health benefits your dog can gain from regular exercise.
Dog owners often struggle with keeping their dog’s weight under control. By exercising your dog regularly, you can help them burn off the extra energy from their food, and maintain a healthy weight. Between 25 and 30% of canines are overweight or obese in the US. Since obesity can lead to serious health complications, dog owners must step up and get involved with dog play and dog walking to better care for their dog's health.
Better Digestive Health
When you walk your dog regularly, the smells they encounter outdoors stimulate their bowel movements and make them urinate more frequently. By allowing them to have more bowel movements, you can improve your dog's digestive health.
Bone And Joint Health
When dogs have an off-leash exercise and get the opportunity to run, walk, and use their muscles, they develop stronger muscles. These muscles, in turn, support your dog's bones and joints, leading to improved bone and joint health. However, over-exercising your dog could lead to bone and common issues down the line, so be sure to research the proper amount of exercise for your dog's specific breed.
Decrease In The Risk Of Diabetes
Obesity in dogs can lead to insulin resistance, which means your dog is more likely to suffer from diabetes if they are overweight or obese. When you exercise your dog correctly and regularly, you decrease their chances of getting diabetes.
Decrease In The Effects Of Aging
When your dog gets older, it is essential to provide them with exercises that keep their joints supple and bodies active. If your dog doesn't get proper training during their senior years, their body will age quicker.
Mental Health Benefits
One of the significant changes you will see when you start exercising your dog regularly is a change in their behavior. Bored and under-stimulated dogs are more prone to destructive behavior, and your dog could become depressed if they don't leave the house much.
When you exercise your dog and take them outdoors, you introduce them to new smells, new people, and new dogs. All of this excitement will make your dog's day, and they will be less likely to suffer from boredom, which can lead to a low mood.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety or generalized anxiety, it could experience an elevated heart rate, distress, and shaking when you leave the house. In extreme cases, your dog may also exhibit self-harming behaviors, such as biting its paws excessively. Regular exercise can help steady your dog's heart rate and reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety. If your dog is tired, it will be calmer and less likely to panic when you leave the house.
Helps Decrease Unwanted Behaviors Such As Barking, Chewing, Digging, And Licking
When your dog is bored, unstimulated, anxious, or depressed, this can increase unwanted behaviors, such as barking, chewing, digging, and licking. When you start exercising your dog regularly, you will notice that they engage in these behaviors less frequently, and they might even stop these behaviors altogether.
Do All Dogs Need Exercise? Which Dog Breeds Need The Most? Which Breeds Need The Least?
When it comes to exercise, each dog breed's needs are different. This section will teach you how much exercise your dog will need each day and which breeds need the most, and least, amount of activity.
Dog Breeds That Need The Most Exercise
Here are some of the dog breeds that need the most amount of exercise. We recommend that you spend at least 2 hours exercising these breeds daily. However, you should always end your session if you spot these signs of fatigue in your dog, as they will have hit their physiological limit.
The Labrador Retriever is a docile dog, but don't let this fool you. The Labrador Retriever was originally bred to fetch small game during the hunting season, so they can instinctively carry eggs and delicate items without damaging them. As working dogs, Labrador Retrievers need plenty of stimulation and exercise - and they tend to love swimming, fetching, and walking.
The Dalmatian is known for its distinctive white body with black spots. Bred to be hunting dogs and war dogs used on the battlefield, Dalmatians have a high guarding instinct and need plenty of exercises. Dalmatians are best suited to wide-open spaces in the countryside and off-leash activities, as they can run pretty fast and need the freedom to reach their top speeds.
The Alaskan Malamute is another working dog, originally used as a sledding dog in North America. Their wolf-like appearance makes them gorgeous pets, so long as you're willing to take on the challenge of keeping them properly stimulated and exercised. Pulling activities like canicross, dog mushing, and skijoring are great exercises for your Alaskan Malamute and let them use their natural pulling abilities.
The Border Collie is known for its obedience and intelligence. This herding dog requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day to prevent boredom. You might find that your Border Collie is a great performer on an agility course, and you should play fetch with your Border Collie to let them run at their top speed.
Bred as bull-baiting and cattle herding dogs, Boxers are high-energy dogs that need plenty of exercises to stay happy and healthy. These dogs are extremely playful and will respond well to games like fetch.
Springer Spaniels are no doubt high-energy dogs; they can bound all around the house and love to run. Taking your Springer Spaniel running with you or biking alongside your Springer Spaniel will give them the chance to get their zoomies out, and they will be more relaxed afterwards when sitting with you in the house.
This energetic breed needs a minimum of 2 hours of exercise a day. If you don't provide this intelligent and athletic dog with the stimulation it needs, you will find your dog gets into trouble in the house. So, it's in your best interest to keep your Weimaraner entertained.
German Shepherds are working dogs to the core. Bred to work as guard dogs and sniffer dogs, these dogs are intelligent and have a keen nose. Consider getting your German Shepherd involved in some search and retrieve activities to stimulate their minds and bodies.
Like the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever historically retrieved small game shot down during a hunt, which means they love running and fetching. Though both breeds appear calm and docile, don't be mistaken. They still need a large amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy.
The Samoyed is a hunting dog, and you'll need to provide your Samoyed with plenty of exercise to keep them from chasing after small animals and barking at squirrels through the window. Your Samoyed will need at least 2 hours of outdoor dog play and walking each day to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Dog Breeds That Need The Least Exercise
Known often as lazy breeds, these dogs need only a little exercise. If you know that you're unable to participate in a lot of physical activity with your dog, then it might be best to opt for these breeds, as they are easier to manage.
You may have difficulty getting your English Bulldog outside for a walk. This dog breed prefers to lounge about on the sofa rather than roaming outside. Due to their short noses, English Bulldogs can struggle to breathe when pushed to their physical limit, so it's best to stick to gentle walks with this breed.
The Shih-Tzu can be playful when it likes to. However, you won't wear yourself out when exercising this regal breed. Your Shih-Tzu will be satisfied with a short walk or a quick game of indoor fetch.
Though the Chow Chow is a low-energy dog breed, they still enjoy going for short walks. We recommend taking your Chow Chow out for at least a 20-minute walk daily. However, they are perfectly content to lounge about the house and cuddle up to you while you watch TV.
Basset Hounds are known for their floppy jowls and their lazy demeanor. You will often find your Basset Hound lying in the same spot for hours without moving (it's a good life for some). Your Basset Hound will need to take a break from their lounging though, so it's best to regularly take your hound out for short strolls.
The Tibetan Spaniel is the perfect lap dog, and their long, soft fur makes them a cozy companion on the sofa. Your Tibetan Spaniel will be pretty satisfied with a short stroll or a play in the yard each day.
The Bull Mastiff was initially bred as a guard dog but will be pretty happy to lounge around the house and needs no more than an hour of exercise per day to stay content.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a low-energy breed and enjoys small amounts of exercise, spread out throughout the day. Your King Charles Spaniel won't wear you out, but they can keep up with you for a pleasant stroll in the sunshine.
The pug can have difficulty breathing with strenuous or vigorous activity, as it is a short-nosed breed. So, it's best to take your pug out for lovely, short, slow walks throughout the day to keep them entertained and healthy.
Chihuahuas are tiny and only need a minute amount of exercise each day. You should aim to walk your Chihuahua for 30 minutes each day, ideally splitting this into several short walks that give your tiny dog a chance to sniff about and get some fresh air.
The Greyhound is known for its immense speed and it is one of the fastest dog breeds. However, Greyhounds don't have much energy. They love to sprint, but once they are done, they can be lazy! We recommend taking your greyhound out into wide open spaces and playing an intense game of fetch so that they can get their zoomies done.
Exercises For Your High Energy Dog
High energy dogs can be quite the handful, especially if you are sick of walking. Luckily, you can participate in plenty of activities with your high-energy dog, so you aren't limited to long walks every day - which you can quickly tire of.
There's no better way to mix things up and get out of your stale walking routine than to take your dog swimming! If your dog isn't a proficient swimmer yet, you can research dog swimming lessons in your area. What an amazing way to bond with your canine companion! If you're worried about your dog drowning, plenty of dog life jackets are available to ensure your dog is safe in the water.
Agility training uses both your dog's body and mind. This practice can improve your dog's listening skills and obedience. You will have plenty of fun engaging in this activity. Bring plenty of treats and take your dog to your local dog agility course. The experience will be rewarding as they will learn new tricks.
Ultimate frisbee is an excellent take on fetch that allows you to throw further and give your dog more exercise. If your dog is a good jumper, they will be able to catch the frisbee in the air and show off their exceptional hunting skills.
Canicross is a dog pulling sport involving jogging with your dog whilst using its strength to pull you along. You can participate in canicross with one or two dogs and even enter canicross competitions and events. This is an excellent activity to wear out your dog. However, to practice canicross safely, you must invest in the right equipment. This includes a dog sport harness, tug line, and canicross belt.
Bikejoring is similar to canicross; only the dog pulls you forward on a bike. This sport was originally designed for training sledding dogs during the summer months. Bikejoring requires basic obedience training and the proper tools to ensure you and your dog are safe.
You don't have to do much to give your dog some stimulation with treat-dispensing toys. You will occupy their brains and bodies, and you can relax in the garden with lemonade while watching them figure the interactive toy out.
Running And Walking
Walking and running are the foundation for building an exercise routine for your dog. If you have a high-energy dog, you can take them for two walks a day, each an hour long. Or, you can take them for a run and a long walk each day.
This will satisfy your dog's need for exercise, but it will help you stay in shape too! If you're not fit enough for running but would like to ensure your dog regularly runs to lose weight and keep in shape, you can use a dog treadmill.
Exercises For Your Lower Energy Dog
Lower energy dogs simply need less exercise than higher energy dogs, but this does not mean that they don't need training. Smaller dogs and lazy breeds still need mental and physical stimulation, and below are some of the ways you can provide them with this.
Taking your smaller dogs for short walks throughout the day allows them to get out of the house and experience new smells. They may also encounter other dogs on your stroll, which will be exciting for them. Dogs aren't supposed to be locked up indoors all day, so even smaller dogs and older dogs must spend time outdoors daily.
You can play fetch with your lower-energy dog indoors or in your backyard. Since most low-energy dogs are smaller or older dogs, they won't need huge throws. This activity requires minimal effort but can make all the difference in stimulating your dog's body and mind.
A flirt pole is an excellent exercise for your smaller dog. They will enjoy playing tug and chase with a flirt pole. Like a cat's toy, the flirt pole is almost like a fishing rod with a toy at the end of the rope, which your dog will chase. This is a fun way to give your pup some exercise throughout the day.
Treat-dispensing toys are a great way to keep your low-energy dog occupied. For these toys to work effectively, you must put them away while the dog isn't using them to ensure they don't become bored with the toy.
A great exercise to stimulate your dog's mind is using puzzle toys. Low energy dog breeds may not be able to exercise for long, but they still need other activities to prevent them from becoming bored throughout the day. That's where puzzle toys come in. Your dog will have to use their brain to find the treats, which keeps them engaged and occupied for hours!
Dog yoga, also known as 'doga,' is a yoga practice you can perform with your dog. It can help to improve your dog's posture, sleep quality, and mental health. Check out this guide to dog yoga to learn how you can practice mindfulness with your dog. If you wish to learn how to perform stretches on your dog, contact your local dog's physical therapist or veterinary practitioner.
Our Picks For The Best Exercise Equipment For Dogs
The Folding Dog Treadmill
The dogPacer LF 3.1 Folding Dog Treadmill makes an excellent investment if your dog suffers from obesity or is overweight. You can simply turn the dog treadmill to a low setting and encourage your dog to walk. They will burn extra energy, and the dog treadmill will help them to lose weight. Dog treadmills can be a pricey investment, but they are worth it if you cannot walk your dog due to a disability or any other reason.
The Hands-Free Trekking Belt With Pocket
The Hands-Free Trekking Belt with Pocket is an excellent piece of dog exercise equipment that you can use when walking your dog in the great outdoors. Hiking can be a perfect workout for you and your dog, but it can grow tiresome holding your dog's leash the entire time. Investing in a hands-free trekking belt allows you to keep your dog from straying too far and getting lost, and it enhances your trekking experience by making it more convenient.
The Jolly Pets Push-And-Play Ball Toy
Jolly Pets Push-and-Play Ball Toy is a toy designed for constant motion. Simply push the ball and keep it moving to practice herding with the ball so that your dog can practice herding. This dog exercise equipment is suitable for use on both land and water. To make this dog exercise equipment more challenging for your dog, you can fill it with sand to add weight to it.
Agility In A Bag
Agility in a Bag is a piece of dog exercise equipment designed for easy storage. The exercise equipment provides an entire agility course that can be folded up and stored in a bag when not in use. This means the dog exercise equipment is easy to carry should you want to take your dog out to the park to practice your agility training.
Interactive Flirt Pole Toy For Dogs
The Interactive Flirt Pole Toy for Dogs is a piece of dog exercise equipment designed to appeal to your dog's hunting instinct. With this toy, you can encourage your dog to sprint, jump, and change direction with minimal effort. This toy is an excellent workout for your dog, and 20 minutes of play is bound to wear your dog out. If your dog is small, you may wish to use this toy to exercise indoors when the weather is unfavorable. However, if your dog is quite large, we recommend using the toy outdoors, for the sake of your furniture!
Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster
The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster is a fantastic toy for large dogs. This dog exercise equipment allows you to throw your dog's ball further so that they can run further to catch their prey. With this great piece of dog exercise equipment, you can send tennis balls up to 50 feet away, giving your pup a chance to sprint.
Paw 5 Dog Snuffle Mat
The Paw 5 Dog Snuffle Mat is a fantastic toy for dogs with a powerful sense of smell. Dog exercise equipment should stimulate your dog's mind and body. This dog exercise equipment is a textured mat, and when you put treats inside the carpet, your dog will have to sniff them out to find them. This dog exercise equipment is great for dogs with different energy levels and works well for dogs of all ages.
Lesotc Pet Water Bottle For Dogs
The Lesotc Pet Water Bottle for Dogs should be a staple in your dog's exercise equipment wheelhouse. Your dog needs to stay hydrated when playing out and about, and this water bottle can help you to keep your dog hydrated on long walks, runs, hikes, or trips to the park. While exercising, your dog will get thirsty, making the pet water bottle an essential investment.
Dog Running Harness
The Dog Running Harness is designed to keep your dog safe while you're both running. The Neewa dog running harness is a piece of dog exercise equipment that is designed to let your dog's body breathe and prevent any skin irritation during their exercise. The harness has an H back structure that helps to distribute the weight of strong pulls evenly across your dog's body. This harness is suitable for small, medium, and larger dogs. However, if you have an extra-large dog, like a Newfoundland, you will be better off opting for the Perfect Fit Harness instead.
Treat-Dispensing Chew Ball
The Treat-Dispensing Chew Ball is an excellent choice for your dog. Like the snuff mat, this exercise equipment for dogs targets the mind and gives the dog a task to keep them occupied for hours. Your dog's mouth will get a workout squeezing this chew ball to dispense the treats, and you can use this toy to keep your dog occupied when you have other things to do. Low effort, high reward!
Your dog, whether high-energy or low-energy, needs exercise daily. Whether you exercise your pet indoors, in your yard, or out in the great outdoors, your dog will be grateful for interactive play to prevent boredom. You can keep your dog fit and stimulated by dog yoga, with dog treadmills, or play tug activities. Hopefully, some of the dog exercise equipment listed here has given you some inspiration on how to engage in some more exciting activities with your dog to keep them in tip-top shape. Your dog's leash isn't the only equipment you can use to exercise your dog!