Keeping Your Canine Buddy Fit 

Does your furry friend have a lot of energy and love to play? Or do you have a rather sedentary pet on your hands? Regardless of your dog’s energy settings, regular exercise is essential for their overall well-being. Below, you’ll find some helpful advice on doggy workouts from a local Aurora, CO veterinarian.

How Can I Tell If Fido Is Getting Sufficient Exercise?

If you have any concerns about your pet’s weight or body condition, it’s always a good idea to discuss it with your Aurora, CO veterinarian.

Your furry buddy’s behavior may also offer insight. Lack of physical activity can lead to undesirable behaviors, such as digging and chewing. Fido might also be a little more mischievous if he isn’t getting enough activity. 

Which Dog Breeds Are Known For Being Less Active?

Some of our canine pals are just more active than others. This will also change over time. That said, certain dog breeds, such as Saint Bernards, Chow Chows, Basset Hounds, and Mastiffs, are known to be, well, furry couch potatoes.

How Can I Keep My Senior Dog Active?

As your furry friend gets older, their activity requirements may shift slightly. Your pet may experience a decrease in strength and stamina, resulting in increased fatigue. Senior dogs are also more vulnerable to extreme hot and cold temperatures, which can also play a role.

Walking and playing is generally fine for most older dogs. It’s important to ensure that you don’t push Fido too hard. Monitor him closely. If he shows signs of fatigue, give him some water and bring him in.

How Do I Know What Activities Are Safe For Fido?

The response to this question will vary, and will also change as your pet gets older. Any health concerns that arise with Fido can also be taken into consideration. Your Aurora, CO veterinarian is an excellent source of information. You can also do some breed research. 

That said, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

Certain dogs should avoid engaging in high-intensity physical activities. This definitely applies to brachycephalic dogs, like pugs and Boxers. Those adorable pushed-in faces can have serious health implications for the pups. Brachys often have shorter air passages, which makes them more prone to breathing difficulties. It can be more challenging for them to regulate their body temperature, as panting is not as effective for them as it is for other pooches. If you have a brachy, it’s important to avoid encouraging Fido to engage in high-intensity exercise or play. Swimming isn’t a safe option for these guys, but your furry friend can still have fun wading or playing in a sprinkler or doggy fountain.

Speaking of swimming, it can be great for some dogs but dangerous for others. Certain dog breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, have a natural affinity for water and enjoy it, well, almost as much as ducks do. However, it’s not a safe option for toy breeds, many giant breeds, brachys, and dogs with long, narrow torsos, like Corgis and Dachshunds. When it comes to Corgis and Dachshunds, it’s important to note that they are not well-suited for jumping or high-impact activities.

Another factor that could limit Fido’s activity options is the potential for hip dysplasia. This condition is commonly seen in specific breeds like German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, although it can affect any dog. Your vet and breeder may recommend that you avoid encouraging your dog to jump or stand on his hind legs if he has or is at risk of developing arthritis or hip dysplasia.

What Activities Can I Do With Fido?

There are more than 200 breeds listed in the AKC roster. Every one of them was initially created to fulfill a particular function. (Even toy breeds had a purpose: being adorable!) Understanding Fido’s breed can provide valuable insights into his preferences and interests.

If you and your furry companion are looking for some fun and excitement, here are a few dog-friendly activities you can consider:

  • Canine Choreography
  • Skijoring
  • Skatejoring (skateboarding while your dog pulls you)
  • Dock Diving
  • Agility
  • Flyball
  • Treibball
  • Canicourse (Running With Fido)
  • Going for a hike

Keep in mind that not all activities are right for every dog. Ask your Aurora, CO veterinarian for recommendations on what would be suitable for your beloved pet.

How Can I Determine If Fido Is Overtired?

Regardless of the activities you and your furry friend engage in, it is crucial to ensure that you do not overexert your dog. Dogs are incredibly loyal and will go to great lengths to please their owners. Here are some indicators to be mindful of:

  • Excessive panting
  • Falling Behind 
  • Drooling
  • Tripping
  • Discolored Gums

If you notice any of these signs, provide your dog with water and allow them to rest right away. Then, take your canine buddy home and let him recuperate with a nap. 

How Can I Encourage Fido To Be More Active?

We all know the saying: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” That’s quite applicable in this situation. Fido’s opinion and preferences definitely matter. Consider Fetch, for example. Many dogs learn this on their own. Others may simply give you an adorable confused look when you throw a stick for them.

It might be helpful to experiment with various options to determine your furry friend’s preferences.

That said, walking is the universal option. Those daily strolls are good for you, too! 

How Can I Keep Fido Active While Indoors?

There will be days when going for an extended stroll with Fido is not very appealing. If the weather is cold or rainy, your dog may become restless indoors. There are plenty of ways to keep your companion active indoors.

Here are a few possibilities:

Treadmills: Do you happen to have a treadmill available? If so, you can determine if your pet enjoys it. Prioritizing safety is essential. Remember to take off Fido’s collar or harness. Begin by setting it to the lowest speed. Always supervise your dog carefully, and never leave him unattended. (Note: Some cats also use treadmills. If you haven’t already, check out the viral video of Fluffy jogging to the iconic Maniac song from the Flashdance soundtrack. It’s absolutely adorable!)

Exercise Partner: If you exercise indoors, consider including your furry friend in your workout. Doing sit-ups? Grab a dog toy and toss it when you’re sitting up. Incorporating this into lunges and squats can also work. 

Fetch: Playing Fetch indoors is possible as long as you have sufficient space. Be sure to steer clear of areas with fragile or hazardous items.

Running Up And Down Stairs: Head to the top of the stairs, holding one of Fido’s favorite toys. Call him to you, then toss the toy. When he brings you the toy back, gently throw it down the stairs. (Please note that this will only be suitable for dogs that both enjoy playing fetch and are physically capable of running up and down stairs a few times.)

Do you have questions about your dog’s activity needs? Is Fido due for an exam? Feel free to reach out to us, your nearby Aurora, CO pet hospital, at any time!

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