Inconvenient locations or the weather can make exercising your dog outside difficult, particularly if you live in an area where the climate changes a lot. Taking your dog out in wet, rainy or stormy weather isn’t ideal, but it can be less dangerous than walking your dog when it’s too hot outside.
Hot surfaces like the concrete or tarmac of pavements and roads can burn your dog’s sensitive pads, while a high pollen count can also exacerbate your dog’s allergies and lead to compulsive scratching and itchy skin.
What Counts as Exercise for a Dog?
If outdoor exercise is out of the question, you can help your dog stay active indoors with a few exercises that’ll keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
- Play a game of tug-of-war: When played correctly, a fun game of tug can build up your dog’s muscles and be a great way to connect with your pet. Most dogs enjoy this activity, but it’s important to set boundaries so they don’t become aggressive or possessive over the toy. Correct behaviours like over-aggressiveness or dominant behaviours like snatching or lurching for your hand, as these could prove problematic in the future.
- Take them on the treadmill: If you own a treadmill, you can exercise your dog by letting them walk or run to get some exercise. It may take a little training to get them used to run on the spot, but if they take to it, it’s a great form of exercise that avoids venturing outside.
- Play hide-and-seek: Playing games indoors can be great for your dog’s mental and physical stimulation. Just be careful with where you play hide-and-seek in your home, as slippy floors and other obstacles could cause injury if you’re chasing your dog around.
- Use steps and stairs: You can use steps or stairs to exercise your dog. But be careful with dogs with small legs or long backs — like Dachshunds or Pembroke Welsh Corgis — as steep steps and jarring motions could hurt their backs. This is quite a strenuous exercise for any dog, so make sure to take it easy and don’t force this activity on your small dog — stick to less difficult exercises.
- Make dog agility courses: If you have space, you can create your own indoor agility course for your dog using household items. Agility work will help keep your dog mentally stimulated while getting some exercise. If they enjoy the activity, consider taking them to a dedicated indoor (or outdoor) agility space.
Is Indoor Exercise Enough for a Dog?
Indoor exercise shouldn’t replace outdoor walks and should only be used as a short-term solution if going outside is likely to be unpleasant or dangerous for your dog. Dogs get a lot of mental stimulation from interesting smells and playing with other people and dogs on their routine walks, which can’t be replaced with a treadmill or tug-of-war.
What Happens If a Dog Doesn’t Get Enough Exercise?
There are several obvious signs that your dog isn’t getting the exercise they need to stay fit and healthy. An increasingly sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity in dogs, so make sure they’re getting enough exercise and a nutritious diet. Angell Petco’s complete dog food is prepared using a unique cooking process that preserves the nutritional integrity of the natural ingredients, giving your dog tasty and nutritious meals.
If your dog is restless, never settling down, perpetually barking or displaying destructive behaviours, they might not be getting the mental and physical stimulation they need. Take them on walks around different areas that they can explore or join a dog walking club so they can socialise with other dogs –– an exciting activity for any dog.