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Canine University 71 Clinton St. Malden, MA


Have a Great Dog!

Natural Health Corner: Exercise

Exercise is a key element in a dogs overall health and well being. Depending on your dogs breed, temperament and energy level he may need no more than a twenty minute trot around the block or as much as a three hour workout.

Regardless, exercise provides a dog with an outlet for stress and anxiety that no other activity fulfills. There are as many ways to exercise a dog as there are dogs, find one to fit your lifestyle and do it often. A dog that doesn't get enough exercise builds up frustration and anxiety that needs to be released in some way. Usually this release manifests itself in inappropriate behavior like excessive barking, digging, destructive chewing, housebreaking problems, dog fighting, etc. That's not to say that exercise alone will fix what ails ya' but it does take the edge off and is crucial to any treatment program.

Most dogs do not get the exercise they need to be good household companions. This is mainly because most dog owners don't realize that a walk on a leash isn't enough exercise for most dogs. Even if you walk for an hour, your dog is restrained on a leash and isn't really letting off steam. That's not to say you should walk him off-leash on the street, but finding a safe place to let him run offleash is a must. A fenced yard, park or even a tennis court can give your pooch a good workout.

Playtime with another dog is an excellent way to release energy. Invite a neighbor's dog over and let them play for an hour several days a week. No neighbor dogs ? How about enrolling your dog in a quality dog daycare program ( we run ours Tuesday thru Thursday from 7:15am - 6:00pm...all the dogs go home dog tired !) Fetch is an awesome way to exercise an energetic dog, use a frisbee, a ball, a kong or a stick and throw it until he drops. For really fast energetic dogs who need lots of flat out running, you can use a tennis racquet to send the ball further than you can throw. The whole family can participate in calling the dog back and forth in the yard, at the beach or even the length of a field.

Swimming is another excellent way to totally tire out a real go getter. You can play fetch in the water too for double the fun. Biking, jogging, or roller blading are a high energy dog's dream, just start off slow at first and build up to your full distance. Dogs under a year probably shouldn't participate in this type of exercise until they fully mature, it can cause too much stress on their joint and growing bones. Check with your breeder and veterinarian to see if these are appropriate activities for your dog's breed, size and age.

Regardless of how you exercise your dog remember that starting off slowly and gradually increasing the time is the key to preventing injury. Find an activity you can enjoy together and practice it often. The benefits to your dogs overall health are more beneficial than any special food or supplement you can give. Get out there and enjoy life with your dog....you'll both enjoy the many benefits of fresh air and fun !

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