Call Us Today! 508-888-2774


Ways To Keep Fido Fit  

March 15, 2024

Is your canine companion a lively, bouncy ball of fur? Or do you have a four-legged couch potato? Whatever class your pup falls into, he will require proper exercise to stay happy and healthy. Of course, Fido’s doggy workouts can vary tremendously. A local Sandwich, MA veterinarian provides some advice on this below.

How Can I Make My Dog More Active?

Have you heard the expression that you can lead a horse to water but not make him drink? That pretty much applies here. Fido’s opinions and preferences should definitely be taken into consideration. You’ll have far better success if you try something your dog appreciates! Take Fetch, for example. Many dogs pick this up spontaneously. Others will simply give you a cute, bewildered look if you throw a ball or stick for them. And while some pups love swimming, others are terrified of the water.

You may need to experiment to determine what your canine companion prefers. Your vet is also a great source of advice on this.

Walking is, of course, the norm here. Even taking your dog for a few short walks each day can help him stay fit.

How Can I Keep My Dog Active Indoors?

There will come a time when bringing Fido out for anything more than a quick bathroom break is not going to seem very enticing. If it’s chilly, rainy, or both, your dog may need to stay in. Fido can become antsy indoors. However, you can still keep your cute pet active inside.

Here are a few choices:

Workout Buddies: If you work out at home, consider including Fido into your regimen. Doing sit-ups? Pick up a dog toy and toss it when you’re sitting up. This can also be done with lunges and squats. Our canine companions aren’t the best yoga mates, but they certainly make working out more fun.

Fetch: Fetch can be played indoors if there is enough space. Just avoid areas with breakable and/or potentially harmful objects.

Stair Runs: Go to the top of the stairs while holding Fido’s favorite toy. Call your pup to you. When he brings you the toy, throw it down the stairs. (Note: This will only work for dogs who fetch and are in good enough shape to run up and down stairs a few times.)

Treadmills: Do you own a treadmill? If so, you can see if your four-legged friend enjoys it. Safety comes first, though. Be sure to take off Fido’s collar or harness. Start him on the slowest setting possible and keep a careful eye on him. Stop as soon as your pet becomes fatigued. Finally, you should never leave your pooch unsupervised. 

(Note: Some cats also utilize treadmills. If you haven’t seen the popular video of Fluffy sprinting to Maniac from the Flashdance soundtrack, check it out. It’s beyond adorable. Then again, many kitties may prefer sleeping on treadmills to actually using them.)

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Getting Enough Activity?

Your canine buddy’s weight and physical condition are two good indicators of this. If you’re not sure whether Fido is overweight, underweight, or just right, discuss it with your Sandwich, MA veterinarian.

There are also some behavioral cues to watch for. Dogs who don’t get enough exercise are more likely to engage in undesirable activities, such as digging and chewing. They may also be a little more rambunctious. If Fido has been misbehaving, or is just really being a handful, he may not be getting enough exercise or enrichment.

What Are the Least Active Dogs?

Proper activity is essential for all of our canine friends. However, some pups need some encouragement to stay active, especially as they get older. Saint Bernards, Chow Chows, Basset Hounds, and Mastiffs are just a few examples of dogs who are prone to laziness.

Which Dog Breeds Need the Most Exercise?

The age, breed, and health of your dog are all important considerations. Some pups are clearly more active than others. If you’re thinking about adopting a dog or have recently obtained a puppy, doing some breed research might be quite helpful.

Here are a few super-energetic dogs:

  • Border Collie
  • Boxer
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Dalmatian
  • Golden Retriever
  • Siberian Husky

This is definitely something to consider before adopting Fido. If you’re an indoor type, a pooch that needs an hour or more of vigorous exercise daily may not be a great fit.

How Can I Keep a Senior Dog Active?

Fido’s activity needs will change as he gets older. He won’t have the same strength or stamina as he did before, and he’ll get fatigued more quickly. Senior dogs are also more vulnerable to excessive heat and cold.

Walking and playing are suitable activities for the majority of senior dogs. Swimming and playing can also be very beneficial, assuming your canine pal is enjoying the activity and can do it safely. Just be careful not to overwork Fido. Keep a watchful eye on him and bring him in when he becomes fatigued.

How Do I Know What is Safe for My Dog?

The answer to this question will alter as your pet ages. Any health difficulties Fido has may also come into play. Ask your Sandwich, MA veterinarian for advice on this.

However, there are certain general guidelines to follow.

Some dogs should not be encouraged to exercise vigorously. This primarily pertains to brachycephalic dogs like pugs and Boxers. Those pushed-in faces may be lovely, but they come at a tremendous cost to the pups. These dogs’ air passageways are exceedingly short, making it easy for them to lose their breath. Their physiology also makes it more difficult for them to cool down if they become too heated, as panting is pretty ineffective for them. If you have a brachy, do not encourage Fido to run or play vigorously. Swimming is also out of the question, but your pet may like wading or splashing in a sprinkler or fountain.

Swimming is a great, low-impact workout for some pooches, but can be dangerous for little and toy breeds. It depends on how large the dog is. Some dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers, adore water and swim like fluffy, barking ducks. Others just don’t perform well. This is also not a good option for many giant dogs, or for pooches with long, thin torsos, like Corgis and Dachshunds. (Note: Corgis and Dachshunds are likewise unsuitable for jumping or high-impact exercises.)

Another factor that may limit Fido’s activity possibilities is the potential for hip dysplasia. This is extremely common in specific breeds, such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, but any puppy might be affected. If your dog has arthritis or is in danger of developing hip dysplasia, your Sandwich, MA veterinarian may advise you not to encourage him to jump or stand on his hind legs.

What Are Some Activities I Can Do With My Dog?

The AKC registry includes nearly 200 breeds. Each of them was originally designed to serve a specific purpose. (Even toy breeds had a job: being cute!) Fido’s breed may reveal a lot about what he is most likely to naturally enjoy. For instance, Retrievers tend to love playing Fetch.

That being said, if you and your furry friend are adventurous and up for a bit of a challenge, here are a few doggy activities to try:

  • Doggy Dancing
  • Skijoring
  • Skatejoring (Skateboarding with a dog pulling you)
  • Dock Diving
  • Agility
  • Lure coursing
  • Earthdog
  • Flyball
  • Treibball
  • Canicourse (Run with Fido)
  • Hiking

Ask your veterinarian for detailed guidance on what is and is not appropriate for Fido.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Overtired?

Make sure Fido does not become overtired. Man’s Best Friend is extremely loyal and will go to great lengths to please his humans, and can even push himself to exhaustion. 

Here are a few warning signals to look for:

  • Panting
  • Lagging behind
  • Drooling
  • Stumbling
  • Warm back
  • Discolored gums

If you notice any of them, immediately give your dog water and allow him to rest. Then take him in and let him recuperate with a nap.

Do you have any queries about your dog’s activity needs? Contact us, your local Sandwich, MA pet hospital, at any time!

Posted in Dog Care

492 Route 6A
East Sandwich, MA 02537
(508) 888-2774
Also serving Bourne, MA and surrounding areas.

Opening Hours:
Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
2nd & 4th Saturday of every month: 8:00 am to 1:00 pm

Visit Our Online Store - Shop Now

CareCredit - Making Care Possible Today.

Pet Portal

Visit Our Online Store - Shop Now

CareCredit - Making Care Possible Today.

Pet Portal