If you think it's OK for Buddy to lie on the couch all day, think again. Just as with humans, dogs need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Without it, your canine friend might get overweight, and his pent-up energy might result in undesired behavior, such as destructive chewing, excessive barking, aggression and garbage-raiding. If Buddy is a couch potato, you're the one allowing it. As his owner, you're responsible for his health and well-being. So get off the couch, spice up your furry friend's life and turn him into an active, happy dog.
Take your dog to a veterinarian for a full checkup to rule out medical conditions that might be causing his laziness. Infectious diseases, trauma, parasites and metabolic disorders are just some conditions that might affect your pet companion's energy level.
Inform the veterinarian of your dog's diet and eating habits. Tell him the type of food you're feeding your dog and the daily amount he's eating. Bring the label with you so the veterinarian can look at the ingredients in your dog's food. Your dog might lack energy because his diet doesn't contain all the nutrients he needs. The veterinarian can recommend a brand of food that contains the optimum amount of fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Take your dog on daily walks outside so he can explore his surroundings and discover new smells. Start with a 10-minute walk if your dog is old, overweight or used to a couch-potato lifestyle, and gradually increase the duration as he grows accustomed to daily walks. Regularly change your route to expose your dog to different surroundings and smells.
Play games with your dog to motivate him in a fun way to get active. Challenge him to a game of fetch where you throw a ball or stick for him to chase and return. Play a game of tug-of-war in which you entice him to grab and pull a tug toy with his mouth, or teach him to play hide-and-seek.
Bring your dog along when you go for a short jog or swim. When jogging, look for soft surfaces to run on, such as grass or dirt, to prevent injuries to your pet companion's paws. Alternatively, teach him to wear dog booties. If you go swimming, start in shallow water and gradually get your dog to enjoy being in the water. Avoid forcing your dog to get in the water.
Schedule regular doggie play dates with friends who have dogs. Your dog can enjoy playing with his mates while tiring himself out, receiving physical and mental stimulation and developing his social skills.
Provide your pet companion with mental stimulation. Set up regular obedience-training sessions, and give your dog chew toys and food-stuffed dog toys. Alternatively, scatter his dinner over the lawn and have him sniff out his food.
Items You Will Need
- Balls or sticks
- Tug toys
- Dog booties
- Chew toys
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Consult a veterinarian before putting your dog on a new exercise regimen, because not all exercise is appropriate for all dogs. Your dog's age, health and breed must all be taken into consideration.
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