In recent decades, we’ve discovered how much our health depends on staying fit. The same is true for our dogs. Insufficient exercise can result in our pets becoming obese, stressed, bored, and prone to both health and behavioral problems.
But what if outdoor exercise isn’t a daily option for your pet? There are still some things you can do to exercise your dog indoors.
The Benefits of Exercise for Dogs
Like humans, dogs need exercise to stay fit. Regular walking, running, and playing help to build muscle tone, improve circulation, promote mental agility and reduce obesity in indoor pets. Daily exercise can also help ward off obesity-related health conditions such as hypertension and hip dysplasia, while burning off excess energy that can make your pet rambunctious, stressed, or even destructive while you’re out of the house.
Indoor Exercise Tips for Dogs
Hunts and Brain Teasers. Dogs are natural hunters who enjoy sniffing out toys and treats. A great way to ensure that your dog stays active even on days when you can’t go outside is to devise some games that engage your pet’s natural hunting instincts. For example, try hiding some treat-filled toys around the house and encourage your dog to find them. As you pooch learns, you can increase the difficulty of the hiding places. Another option is to exercise your dog’s problem-solving skills with a brainteaser, like a toy that requires your pet to solve a puzzle to obtain a treat.
Doga. As you may have guessed from the name, doga combines yoga and, yes, dogs. If you’re already seriously into yoga or just starting out, there’s no reason your pooch can’t join in. Let’s face it, our dogs love being near us and are especially curious when we’re doing stretches and poses on the floor. Incorporating your pet into your yoga routine can be easy and fun. Larger dogs enjoy stretching and small dogs can be lifted or placed on your back or chest to increase weight resistance.
Indoor Obstacle Courses. For energetic and agile dogs, you may want to try setting up an indoor obstacle course using cushions, ramps, Hula Hoops, or whatever’s handy (and safe). The difficulty of the course should be sufficient to keep your dog engaged and moving, without creating any physical hazards. Remember to have a good supply of treats on hand as rewards.
Go Hi-Tech. High-tech fitness aids aren’t just for people. If you’re serious about getting your dog fit, try some training equipment like collapsible tunnels or chutes or even a doggie treadmill. Treadmills come in a range of styles and sizes, with those for smaller animals resembling large hamster wheels while those for larger animals look more like the treadmills you might see at the gym. Once your pet gets the hang of it, running on a treadmill can be a great way to burn off nervous energy while building muscle and boosting your pet’s mood.
Pet Workout Wrap-Up
Exercising indoors with your pet is a great way to keep you both fit, while reinforcing your shared emotional bonds. And if you’re willing to get a little inventive, it can be loads of fun too.
And while physical activity is important for your dog’s health, keeping his mind sharp boosts his overall wellness. Here are some dog brain games to try! These simple exercises let your animal exercise both its mind and body and can help reduce stress, separation anxiety, boredom, and destructive behaviors.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.
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