Whilst some dogs love going out for ‘walkies’ and chasing after a ball, this isn’t the case for all dogs! Instead, some other dogs can be a little lazy when it comes to taking them outside for exercise, preferring instead to sleep all day with the occasional cuddle from their owner. Whilst an inactive and unenergetic dog can be good news for your timetable, it isn’t always the best news for your dog’s health. We’ve come up with five ways that you can use to help encourage your dog to get more active, and live a longer, happier life by keeping themselves in shape.
Find Fun Games to Get Moving
With a quick online search, you’ll find that there are hundreds of different puzzles and games available to buy that will help to get your dog off their bottom. If you’ve got the luxury and pleasure of another dog in the house, they can exercise together by competing to find the toy the first after you’ve thrown it, or play tug of war together which will help to strengthen their muscles. They will be so invested in competing against each other that they won’t even notice that they’re getting active!
You don’t even have to purchase anything new, since you can create your own games at home by using what you already have. You and your dog can play chase together, as you pretend to chase after them, which will definitely get them bouncing all over the place. Think about playing hide and seek with treats, where your dog has to be a detective using their nose to hunt out the hidden snacks. This gets their body moving, and their brain working, as they race around to hunt out what they can smell.
Join an Agility Class
Not only will your dog love an agility class for the social aspect with other dogs, but they will love getting to spend more time together with you. It’s a good chance for them to learn discipline, and improve their balancing skills which can make great party tricks! Jumping over fences, dodging cones and crawling through tunnels on an obstacle course is bound to get your dog burning off energy and having fun too. You’ll also be able to gain ideas and ask questions to the agility class leader, so that you can find inspiration to get your dog active at home away from the agility class. This might mean that you set up your own version of an agility course in your garden, with makeshift hurdles and climbing facilities so that your dog is keeping active on a daily basis – without the need to head out to a class.
Letting your four-legged friend get involved with other dogs of similar – or not so similar – sizes and breeds can not only boost their emotional health, but will encourage them to get active too by chasing each other round, or competing against each other to catch the ball first! Seeing their tails wagging as they sniff and jump around with other dogs will fill your heart, but help to look after their heart too by getting their cardiovascular system working. You can get a dog party together in your home, at the park or at special ‘dog arenas’ that are designed with dog meet-ups in mind. These are specifically made for large groups of dogs to run around safely, and this means that they have amazing activities for your dogs to get involved in together. If five other dogs fighting for the same toy doesn’t get your dog moving, what else will?
Look After Their Body
Give your dog regular massages and stretch their legs outwards, so that you can help ease any stiff areas or aches that they have from their activity in the previous days. There are a number of exercises available online that you can do at home after your dog has been out for a run, which will help their muscles to recover quicker. This is also the perfect time for you to check whether their body is in good working order, or whether there are tender areas that your dog would rather you didn’t touch. They will make you aware of these sore areas by biting or yelping, especially if you are placing pressure for long periods of time. If you notice that this continues for more than two consecutive days, or happens weekly, you should consult your vet for advice.
If this is abnormal and they have never shown that they’ve had pain in this area before, there may be something stuck in their paw, or their bone could be damaged. If the painful area is an ongoing problem, and they sometimes limp to avoid using the area that is sore, it could be that they are suffering from arthritis. In combination with gentle exercise and physio, you should consider feeding YuMOVE joint supplements to your dog. These are tasty treats that should be taken daily, which contain green-lipped mussels to ease the stiffness of joints, and Omega-3 to help with the soreness that is caused by arthritis.
Fuel Them Properly
In order to ensure that your dog has enough energy for the runs, walks and play times that you have planned, make sure that you feed them a nutritious and balanced meal that is going to fuel them for the rest of the day. Younger dogs will need feeding twice a day, whereas senior dogs will need a meal just once a day. You should choose a dog food with your dog in mind – since they are the ones going to eat it! Not only should you ensure that your dog’s meals are healthy, but ensure that their snacks and treats that you reward them with are good for their insides too.
There are a number of tailored dog food plans available online, which will recommend the amounts to feed your dog, and offer a unique doggy meal that is the most suitable for your pet’s requirements. They will create this dog meal plan with your dog’s weight, breed and health in mind. This means that if your dog has heart disease or pancreatitis, for example, its dinner will be full of nutrients that will promote a good immune system, but contain low levels of fat in order to maintain your dog’s weight so that no extra burden is placed on their organs.
If these ideas haven’t got your dog out of the front door already, try a combination of these methods to see what works best for them. Getting into a routine and rewarding your dog with cuddles can be an excellent way to change up their lazy habits, meaning that they are more active. Who knows, their new active lifestyle could actually change yours too, for the better, by encouraging you to get outdoors more. This can not only have a multitude of physical health benefits for you, but improve your mental wellbeing too! Come rain or shine, get outdoors and get your dog moving to ensure that they’re able to move in the future. Future them – and you – will thank you for the changes that you implement today.