The average dog walks over 23,000 miles during their lifetime. A dog goes through four stages of life and during these periods it’s likely that situations will arise where a dog cannot leave the home. Just like humans, dogs need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy, but how do you keep them well energized when they’re stuck indoors?
How much exercise does a dog need?
Dogs vary in size, weight, health and energy levels. Every dog and every breed is different and it’s important that owners spend time getting to know their dog and its needs. Some dogs need as little as 20 minutes exercise a day, which can easily be done with a short walk and play. Whereas, other dogs require more than 2 hours of exercise per day. Therefore, when choosing the right dog for you and your family, it’s important you carefully consider the breed you’re going to get to ensure that its needs fit in with you and your lifestyle.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden for their dog to happily play in. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a dog as a pet. The dogs most suitable to be kept indoors include the Bichon Frise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua and the Pomeranian.
Some owners choose to keep their pets as indoor dogs when their dog becomes unwell or when they’ve suffered from an illness or injury to allow them time to recover. Keeping a recovering dog indoors doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from exercise, though, and there are plenty of indoor activities a dog can participate in to keep them fit.
The ways you can keep your dog active in the home are countless. One of the best ways of keeping a dog healthy and providing fun for them at the same time is by play. Most dogs love toys, so by picking up their favourite and playing a game of throw across the room, it encourages them to get moving, fetch the toy and bring it back to you. Repeating this over and over elevates their heart rate and gets your dog’s blood pumping around their body.
An open plan floor is a great way for your dog to exert itself, allowing you to keep an eye on your pet at all times too. Stairs are also a great way for dogs to get fit and can be used to play games too. Try throwing your dog’s favourite ball down the stairs and watch him chase after it.
It may sound strange, but dogs can use ‘human’ forms of exercise to get fit. This includes using a treadmill to walk or run on. The best thing is you don’t need to buy a specific dog-only machine either as it’s perfectly safe for them to use their owner’s treadmill. It is, however, important, that you spend time getting your dog used to the treadmill and checking that the speed the machine is set at is suitable for your dog, as you do not want your pet to over exert itself or suffer any injuries. You should also supervise your dog at all times whilst the treadmill is in use.
Benefits of exercising indoors
Dogs which exercise indoors build a strong bond with their owners. Games such as hide and seek show the dog that its owner is trustworthy and will always come back no matter what. It’s a simple game to play and is very much like the human version where the dog stays while you hide. Then, give the dog a command to come and find you. Rewarding your dog when you’ve been found with praise, cuddles and a treat will strengthen your dogs bond with you even more.
Dogs love fun and playful games which is why indoor exercises for canines is particularly beneficial. Tag, chase and mentally stimulating games such as The Shell Game, where opaque cups or similar are used to hide a dog’s toy or treat, are all fun games that your dog will love to play with you. The cups are moved around and the dog, on command, will seek out the cup with his toy or treat under it.
Regardless of the reasons why an owner chooses to exercise their dog indoors, there are some great games and exercises that your dog can participate in to ensure he remains fit, healthy and stimulated. These kinds of activities are also great for owner-pet bonding and help to develop their relationship and trust with one another.