We often hear how good dogs are for us. A dog can help you emotionally, whether he is just comforting a bad day or helping you cope with something as serious as PTSD. A dog can help someone gain independent living and even be a reason for someone battling depression to get up in the morning. For all these reasons and more, we owe our dogs a lot. One simple way to say “thank you” is to make sure we are being good for our dogs. Part of that is making sure we give them exercise outside of our homes. Exercise is vital for a dog’s health and well-being. So check out these 5 reasons why your dog really needs exercise.
#1 – Keeps Them Fit
This one should be a “no-brainer.” Just like us, your dog needs physical exercise to stay healthy. Many of us get dogs to help us exercise, but remember they need it just as much as we do! Dogs that stay lean and trim are less likely to have joint issues, diabetes, and even some forms of cancers.
#2 – Promotes Physical Health
In addition to keeping them fit, exercise outside provides dogs with fresh air and that all important sunshine. Just how important is sunshine? When exposed to the sun’s full spectrum rays, your dog is soaking up Vitamin D, which dogs can’t produce enough of on their own and is vital for skin and coat health. For puppies, Vitamin D is used for proper bone development and growth. Sunshine also speeds healing, kills bacteria and fungi, and even regulates melatonin so your dog is on a more normal sleep-wake cycle. To reap all these benefits, your dog should get about 30 to 40 minutes of sunshine each day! And staying indoors with the curtains open doesn’t count – glass blocks the full spectrum light thus eliminating these benefits.
#3 – Promotes Emotional Health
Sunlight also stimulates the production of endorphins that help keep us in a good mood, including serotonin and dopamine, so just being outside can increase your dog’s emotional health. But couple that with exercise, which is also thought to increase emotional well-being and you will have the happiest dog on the planet. For most dogs, exercise helps stave off bad behavior because it releases all their pent-up energy and feelings. Remember, a tired dog is a HAPPY dog!
#4 – Gives Them Socialization
Dogs need to be exposed to all kinds of things in order to be easy-going in new situations and environments. Your daily exercise regime is so much more than just “wearing your dog out.” It’s a chance for her to meet new dogs and people, see new things such as bikes, cars, balloons, etc., and even experience walking on different surfaces. This step is especially important for puppies or rescue dogs who may have not been socialized before.
#5 – Aids With Training
If you have a hard time training your dog because he is just bouncing off the walls and distracted at every little thing, try exercising him first. It doesn’t work with all dogs, but for some, getting that edge off first will make them much more focused for training. And, don’t forget, your daily walks or runs are a great time to incorporate training into something your dog loves to do – both you and your dog won’t even feel like you are doing work!
So how much exercise does your dog need? Use our newly developed exercise calculator created in partnership with Wag! to see how much exercise your dog needs based on his breed. Don’t have time for that much exercise yourself? Book a free walk with Wag! and a shelter dog will get a walk too through Best Friends Animal Society.
Do you want a healthier & happier dog? Join our email list & we'll donate 1 meal to a shelter dog in need!