Exercise is just as important for your pets as it is for you. When your pet gets enough exercise, it will help him to maintain a healthy weight, have healthy joints, and even feel better mentally. Healthy pets are also good for your entire family, as pets that are well-exercised are less likely to be destructive in the home. Walks are always a good method of exercising, but try these ideas if you'd like to mix things up.
1. Use a Flirt Pole
If you have ever seen the toys on a stick that cats play with, then you already have a basic idea of what a flirt pole dogs looks like. Flirt poles for dogs consist of three components: a toy for the dog to play with, a string that allows you to move it around, and a stick for you to hold onto. Flirt poles are an excellent way for you to help your pooch get some exercise even if you don't have a lot of energy yourself to go on a long walk. They allow your pet to be mentally stimulated and get some movement in, even if you are sitting on the couch. Flirt poles are also an excellent way for disabled people to play with their dogs.
2. Go Swimming
If your dog loves the water, chances are he would love to go swimming with you. Dog beaches are common in almost every state, whether your pet is running into the Atlantic Ocean or jumping into a man-made lake. If you have a small dog, you may not even need to look further than your own backyard. Most kiddie pools are tall enough for small dogs to swim in. Regardless of the size of your pet or where you take him swimming, make sure he wears a lifejacket made for dogs. It's always better to be safe.
3. Take Your Dog Hiking
Walks through the neighborhood are good for basic exercise, but they don't give your pet a lot of mental stimulation once he becomes used to the route. When the weather is nice, consider taking your dog on a hike. Whether you're on a short trail at a neighborhood park or you take a longer hike in the country, your pet will get to enjoy all kinds of new sights and smells, which is as good for his mental health as it is for his physical health. Remember to bring a sturdy leash, pet waste bags, and plenty of water for both of you.
4. Try Some Dog Sports
Some dogs are very high energy and are used to having a job. For example, border collies are excellent family pets but they're also herders and very good at jumping. If you want to keep a border collie mentally and physically healthy, teach him dog sports. From scent work to agility training, fly ball to lure coursing, there are plenty of exercises and sports created just for dogs. If your dog is particularly good at them, you might even consider entering him into competitions.
5. Join a Doggy Daycare
If you don't always have time to exercise your pet, pay someone else to help you do it. Doggy daycares are great not only for exercise but also for allowing your pet to socialize with other dogs. You can leave your dog at daycare while you're at work or simply running errands. While you're gone, he'll get to run and play with other dogs of all ages and sizes, jumping and chasing his way around large indoor play areas and plenty of outside doggy gym equipment.
Above all else, the important thing is to make sure your dog is getting at least 30 minutes of mentally stimulating exercise per day. Whether that's tossing a ball in the backyard or playing tug-of-war inside the house, playing with your dog daily will not only keep him happier but will make you feel better as well!