Do you know how often you should walk your dog? Dogs need anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours of walking per day depending on their age and breed. Pet obesity falls in the range of 22%-44% and is continuing to climb according to a 2019 study by the British Veterinary Association. Overweight dogs, as with humans, are at risk of having a shorter lifespan and having multiple health issues.
How do you know if your dog is getting enough exercise? There are many signals your dog sends out to convey that they’re approaching the danger zone.
Here are five that tell you if your dog is not getting enough exercise apart from obvious indicators like weight gain.
Dogs act out in different ways when they are restless and bored. They might chew on your cushions or furniture and display aggressive behaviour towards people and other animals. Eliminate other causes for such behaviour like anxiety or fear and then ramp up their exercise. Keep track of their weight levels and monitor their moods as the numbers drop.
Dogs with a weight issue will have trouble breathing even for the smallest of movements because their stamina is limited. Physical exertion causes stress on the cardiovascular system and limits the flow of fresh oxygen. It also taxes their joints and can quicken the onset of arthritis and chronic pain. Mobility issues where your dog takes time to sit or stand are also early indicators of their deteriorating health.
Watch the collar
Do you feel your dog’s collar is getting uncomfortable for them? It could be a sign of obesity. A collar that is comfortable should always remain so unless your dog was underweight to begin with.
Constipation and flatulence
Decreased activity leads to improper digestion and increased abdominal fat. Step up the fiber intake after consulting your vet and plan out a different, more intensive exercise routine for your dog to help them feel at ease with themselves.
Check for physical signs
Observe your dog carefully and check their body shape from time to time. Do they have a loose stomach? Do they look rounded? One of the easiest ways to tell if your dog is gaining weight is to feel for their ribs. Prominent ribs that give your dog a well-defined shape without making them appear emaciated is a sign of a fit dog.
What can you do to make sure your dog gets enough exercise?
Keep your dog healthy by setting a daily walking limit. A veterinarian can advise you on a safe walking schedule for your dog. They can also tell you how much you should walk your dog, which can help you monitor how often they're getting their exercise.
If time is an issue (as it most often is!) try to club different activities together. Take doggie with you when you go for a run or set aside some time during your lunch hour to play fetch.