What’s more fun than playtime with your pet? Spending time with your furry friend bonding and exercising will bring you closer, boost your moods and keep you both in good health. And, perhaps most importantly, proper exercise gives your pal mental stimulation, which can help keep destructive behaviors at bay. So what are you waiting for? Follow our tips for a rewarding playtime for every type of pup, and then get out there and play!
For Small and Medium Breed Dogs
Small and medium dogs may not need as much or as vigorous exercise as larger breeds, but they still need to move around regularly. Consider playtime with other pups at the local dog park, or interactive puzzle games, which train her to find hidden dog treats and nose out prizes–an activity that works both your dog’s body and her brain.
A note of warning: If your dog is a breed with a short or flat nose (known among the pros as brachycephalic breeds), watch your furry friend carefully during exercise. These dogs are more prone to breathing problems, especially during more intense activity.
For Young and High-Energy Dogs
Running is ideal if your dog is a younger animal with tons of energy. Younger dogs (just like children) have a lot more energy than older dogs and need a more intense outlet for it. Allow your four-legged friend to release pent-up energy by taking her for a jog instead of a regular old walk. If your buddy needs to stop to catch her breath, wants to greet other dogs or your neighbors, or sniff around a new area, let her enjoy your time together and take a break or two. It’s all about her, and the calories you’re burning are just an extra bonus!
A note of warning: It’s a good idea to avoid running with very small puppies whose bones haven’t yet finished growing, or with very large breeds, who are more prone to arthritis and hip problems than smaller dogs.
For Large Breed Dogs
Larger breeds are more prone to problems like hip dysplasia and joint issues, so it’s important to keep your dog’s longer term health in mind when exercising together. Games like fetch, or more mind-focused games like puzzle toys, chew toys, hide-and-seek and learning new tricks can all be good options for larger dogs who aren’t necessarily up for extreme exertion every day.
If your larger dog has more energy to exert, consider taking him for a leisurely jog with you, keeping your pet on a hands-free leash. You will need to train your pal to get used to this setup and keep an appropriate pace before heading out to any busy streets, sidewalks or parks with other pedestrians, bikers or vehicles.
For Older Dogs
Older, low-energy dogs should avoid extremely intense exercise. Instead, focus on fun games that might involve a little walking or jogging back and forth, but only for small distances or short periods of time. Games like fetch, for example, will get your dog moving, but won’t require a huge effort and will keep your dog from overexerting himself. Even just a short 10-15 minutes of play each day will help keep your dog healthier.
Dogs of all sizes may also really enjoy the company of other dogs, so some relaxed play at the local dog park can be a great way to squeeze in some exercise while also allowing your furry friend to socialize and have fun.