How to keep your dog active

How to keep your dog activeLike all pets, our dogs rely on us to keep them well fed, exercised and mentally stimulated to ultimately lead a well-balanced lifestyle.

Here are a few Rooke’s recommendations for keeping your dog active:

Exercise… it keeps ‘em happy!

An active dog is naturally happier and less likely to develop weight-related issues such as diabetes or joint issues.  Energising your dog, both mentally and physically, has numerous advantages for their wellbeing. A mentally engaged and well exercised dog is a calmer dog, less likely to get bored and act out.

Rooke’s recommends walking your dog at least once a day, every day of the week.  The breeding and fitness of your dog will depend on how long you should walk for (in general most dogs benefit from between 30 minutes to 2 hours of physical activity per day – which averages out to 3.5 to 14 hours of walking per week).  Depending on your lifestyle and daily routine, and the needs of your dog, you might find it easier to break that time up into 2 or 3 walks each day.

Taking your dog for regular walks is one of the best ways to keep them active (walkies anyone?).  Most canines are excited by the new smells and trails that come with a walk in the great outdoors, and it burns calories for dogs and owners alike.  Dogs can use up their excess energy resulting in better behaviour at home, while humans are more likely to stick to their exercise plans when they have a responsibility to their four-legged friend.  You and your dog can embark on a new-found fitness journey together!

Dog walking accessories

There is a wide range of dog walking accessories on the market today and it’s important they not only keep your dog entertained, but safe too.  If you’ve been thinking of introducing some new activities or products, why not consider the following:

  • Ball chucker’s – A hand-held device enabling you to throw a ball for your dog over longer distances.  These are great for more energetic dogs that need to stay outdoors for longer. But be sure to warm your dog up first as sending them running after a ball when they’re not ready could cause joint pain. Also avoid repeating this activity throughout the walk. Dogs can also suffer from repetitive strain injuries from this sort of chasing activity.
  • Headcollars – These are handy if your dog is stronger and harder to control on walks. The neck strap applies gentle pressure to the back of the neck rather than the throat, and the nose loop controls the head without discomfort.  The combined effect works in conjunction with your dog’s natural reflexes to produce a calming effect on excitable dogs and a subduing effect on dogs who are more commanding.  
  • High-vis – Light up dark evenings and keep you and your dog safe and seen with a high-vis coat, collar or lead.  LED lights are a good idea and really easy to use – just attach them to your dog’s collar.

Let’s play!

Dogs love interactive games like obstacle courses, fetch and tug of war. Whether you’re playing at home or in the park, why not introduce some toys?  Ambling along on a lead has limited calorie-burning potential compared to running after a ball, jumping or grappling with a toy. Toys help dogs achieve mental stimulation which they may not experience sitting at home or going for a walk in a familiar location.  Toys can also help your dog burn off any excess energy – perfect for helping them relax in the evening with you.

Combine daily walks with play and you and your canine companion will no doubt benefit from a well-balanced lifestyle.  Remember to always take your phone with you whenever you and your dog go out for a stroll and, if it’s dark, remember to take a torch and use an extendable lead rather than allowing your dog to run off into the dark.