While all dog owners start out with good intentions when it comes to how much they will walk their dogs and take care of their exercise requirements, it can be all too easy to let these things slip as you fall into your normal routine! Perhaps you will start working more hours or otherwise find yourself lacking the energy for long walks, and knocking five or ten minutes off your dog’s walk now and then and maybe sending your dog to play in the garden for a bit instead soon become easy options!
It is a simple fact that most of the UK’s dogs are overweight to some degree, and as anyone who has had to put their dog on a diet will tell you, it is much easier to keep them at a healthy weight to begin with than it is to try to help them drop a few pounds later on.
Keeping your dog not only at a healthy weight but actually physically fit too has many advantages, and this can prolong your dog’s healthy life, as well as helping them to avoid a huge number of weight-related health problems as they age.
If your dog is not as fit as they used to be or they are starting to look a little round around the edges, take action now to get them back to optimum fitness, and you will also be taking a real, tangible step towards improving their health.
In this article, we will look at five great reasons for getting your dog fit and active, and how this can improve and even prolong your dog’s life. Read on to learn more.
When we talk about physical activity for dogs, a lot is spoken about keeping your dog at a healthy weight and preventing physical issues that can arise if your dog is overweight, but exercise and physical activity is also vital in order to preserve your dog’s mental functions, and delay brain aging.
As well as providing physical stimulation, exercise is also mentally stimulating, and keeping your dog active will help to keep their brains active and working, which can help to delay the age-related onset of brain degeneration as your dog reaches maturity.
A huge number of canine health conditions can be exacerbated by or even caused by being overweight, including heart problems, diabetes, and the wear on the bones and joints that can occur by carrying around too many spare pounds!
Keeping your dog fit can help them to avoid many common health problems, and will also make your dog slimmer and so, more comfortable, and less likely to suffer from problems like overheating, blood: glucose imbalances, and many other problems besides.
As dogs get older, they will often become a little stiff from time to time, particularly when it is cold of if they have been sleeping for a long time. Health conditions such as the various different types of arthritis cannot always be prevented by any means, but keeping your dog fit and active will mean that they are not as badly impacted by arthritic flare-ups as an overweight or inactive dog will be.
Additionally, the fact that fit dogs tend to be slimmer means that the dog’s weight will not worsen any joint or bone problems, which can in turn mean that they are able to stay active for longer.
Many behavioural problems that dogs manifest, including things like destructive chewing, being unruly or having a tendency to run off when off the lead can be attributed to boredom, or the dog having too much excess energy and nothing to do with it.
Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time and/or that are not getting enough exercise to meet their needs will soon look for their own ways of working off that excess energy, and keeping themselves entertained.
This is why canine behaviourists and other professionals that advise on dog behaviour-related problems will usually ask you a lot of background questions before tackling the problem, including how fit and active your dog is.
Ensuring that your dog has interesting walks that are long and energetic enough to make them tired will help to avoid behavioural problems from developing, and contribute greatly to improving any that are already established.
Finally, keeping your dog fit and ensuring that they stay active and busy can actually have a direct correlation with how long they live, and dogs that are lean and fit tend to live longer than dogs that are sedentary and/or even slightly overweight.
Additionally, a dog that is physically fit will be much better equipped to manage any illnesses or health problems that they do develop, giving them a much better chance of survival and recovery.