Just like people, it’s easy for dogs to put on a little extra weight if they don’t stay active. This has the same negative impact on your pooch’s health as it would on your own, so keeping fit is an important part of maintaining a dog’s overall health.
As a responsible owner, you’ll already know the importance of daily walks for your dog’s physical wellbeing and happiness. However, if your pet is a little on the heavy side, you may need to work some extra activity into your day to help them drop a few pounds.
An efficient way to encourage your dog to move around a little more is to team up with fellow dog owners for walks. Provided your dog has been well-socialised as a puppy, this is a great opportunity for them to make some friends.
A group walk is a great way to get the dogs playing together, and their obvious enjoyment will make you feel good as well. It’s a particularly good strategy for dogs who are inclined to get a little lazy once the enormous energy of puppyhood wears off, so for best results, team up with the bounciest, fastest young pups you can find.
A tried-and-true classic, fetch is a good game to play in the garden between walks. If you want to make things more challenging, consider getting a small rugby ball, or something with a similarly oval shape. This makes it harder to predict which way the toy will bounce, and will be very exciting for your dog. Another option is to use a ball that squeaks or makes another intriguing noise, like the JW iSqueak Ball.
If jumping is what your pooch really needs, then a frisbee (for example, the Chuckit! ZipFlight Medium) is an obvious choice. While this kind of toy can take a little while to master, it can offer hours of fun for dog and human alike.
To really get your pet running, there are also dedicated throwing devices available, such as the Chuckit! Indoor Launcher. These are essentially an extension of your arm, and allow you to throw much further than you would normally be able to. That said, if you don’t have much space, you might need to take a trip to the park to get the most out of this piece of kit.
If you’ve got children, they can be a big help when it comes to your dog’s fitness. Even better, they can get their daily dose of activity at the same time.
Send them all out into the garden for a fun game of chase, or provide them with suitable balls to throw (ideally soft ones that won’t cause any damage if someone’s aim is a little bit off). This will also help your little ones build their own relationships with the family pet, and help them understand the responsibilities that come with dog ownership.
If the weather isn’t so good, you can play indoors, but make sure any balls and toys you use are safe. The Chuckit! Indoor Ball is great for this scenario.
While you should always be careful with your dog, rough-and-tumble play is how they learn basic skills with their brothers and sisters when they are born. This means a little bit of tug-of-war, using a suitable item like a Kong Tug Toy, is actually a great way to play. However, if your pet shows any signs of genuine aggression, instead of play-fighting, then you should probably find another activity to enjoy together.
Work for it
If these ideas aren’t enough, there are also feeding methods that can make your pooch’s mealtimes into a game. If you put some food inside a Kong Original toy, your pet will have to do a little bit of work to get to their dinner, helping them get all the fun and exercise out of mealtimes, while keeping their teeth and gums healthy.
Written by: Hannah Dyball