8 Reasons Dog Exercise Is Important for Your Pup
Whether you hit the gym every day or haven’t dusted off your estranged sneakers in months, you know it’s important to exercise. As you learned in health class, working up a sweat boosts your mood, slims your waistline and, along with the proverbial apple a day, keeps the doctor away. The same is true of dog exercise.
So why do so many of us forget this basic health requirement when it comes to our furry friends? Your dog needs exercise to be their happiest and healthiest selves. Here, find out why it’s important to make sure your dog is getting in his cardio and how you can be a better workout buddy.
Exercise Combats Anxiety
There’s nothing like a spin class to clear your head after a stressful day at work. As the endorphins kick in, those feelings of restlessness and anxiety seemingly melt away (or at least take a back seat).
Similarly, exercise decreases anxiety in dogs, says Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, a veterinarian and clinical instructor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Pet parents who ensure their pups are physically fit will be less likely to return home to a chewed-up couch.
“Because exercise decreases anxiety overall, lack of exercise can contribute to anxiety-based conditions,” she says. “More specifically, lack of exercise and mental stimulation can lead to attention-seeking and destructive behaviors.”
More Activity, Less Aging
Unfortunately, we can’t completely prevent our dogs from racking up the birthdays. But, as with humans, getting the proper amount of exercise can help keep your dog’s mind sharp and ward off some age-related diseases, says Borns-Weil. While it’s important for senior dogs to stay active, it’s equally important to adjust their routine and remember that those high-speed puppy days are over.
“While being old is not a disease, it is important to get advice from your dog’s veterinarian about how much exercise and what types of exercise are appropriate for an individual senior dog,” she says. “If a dog is stiff and has difficulty rising on the morning after a big romp, an owner may need to scale back or choose a different form of exercise.”