Dog Activities & Fun - The Role of Exercise & Fun in Good Dog Health


How much activity does a dog need for optimal health?

Dogs generally need quite a bit of activity. And many times, it's much more than some owners are willing to do, especially if we're working a lot and are overall tired ourselves. But generally, they need quite a bit of activity to help keep their weight off and go through those calories they are eating and help stimulate their minds.


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How does the ideal activity level for a dog change based on age and breed?

As far as dog breeds go, your smaller breed dogs are going to have a little bit more energy than your large breed dogs. So guys like this are generally going to be lap dogs, but they also have their moments of zooming around and trying to knock over furniture. But as far as your smaller breeds and your medium to large size, they're certainly going to have a lot of energy. You'll notice that most of the time, as your pet gets older, they will start to have less energy. They may have the occasional outburst, but most of the time, they're going to feel a lot more like laying on the couch rather than zooming around the backyard.

What health problems can arise if a dog does not get enough activity?

If your dog does not get enough activity, obesity is certainly one of the most common types of things that we're going to see because of it. Just like us, if we don't get up and be active, we're not burning those calories. And so we will see some obesity results from that, and we can also see some problems with their muscles and joints, simply because they're not using them.

How does a dog's activity level affect their behavior?

Suppose you're not giving dogs enough exercise, and they're not able to get that energy out. In that case, it can turn into behavioral problems such as chewing, being destructive, and being reckless within the house itself. So you want to make sure that if you have an active dog, you need to match that activity level with the exercise.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Activities & Fun - FAQs


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

What are some great outdoor dog games to play?

One of the favorites, at least for this guy, is fetch. They love having a ball thrown for them, which allows you to interact with your dog. They are responsive; they know you are the source of that ball being thrown so they'll bring it back to you. Chasing it is certainly a lot of exercise that they also get. Tossing a Frisbee or even just going for a walk or a hike can keep them active.

What are some great indoor dog games to play?

Indoor wise, if you want to play fetch, you can have at it. They will still enjoy it no matter where the ball is. As far as their rope toys go, some dogs enjoy things like tug of war, or even just allowing them to have a toy that they enjoy chewing on.

What types of activities are good for training my dog?

You can make training a little bit of a game. Having them sit or lay down and rewarding that with either throwing a ball or giving a treat are all things that they learn to look forward to. Things like fetch and learning to stay or to come are also good methods to train them.

What can I do to keep my dog active or out of trouble when I'm not home?

Some dogs, no matter how much exercise you allow for them to get while you are home, can still be destructive. That's when crate training comes into play. But, if they have a toy that is fairly indestructible that they enjoy chewing on, you can give that to them. If you are able to take them for a nice long walk before you leave, you can get some of that energy out so that they're tired and sleeping while you're gone.

What should I do if I notice my adult dog becoming less active?

It could mean that they are just slowing down over time, just like we do. We start to slow down as time goes on, our bodies start to wear down, and we don't have as much energy as we used to. That could be what's going on, but you also want to check in with your vet. It could mean that they have a health problem that needs to be addressed because, for some reason, they don't feel so well.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Activities & Fun - FAQs 2


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How much activity does my puppy need each day?

Puppies are like the Energizer bunny; they are going to need an active lifestyle. It depends on the breed, but many of them are going to want to go, go, go for about 20 to 30 minutes and then nap for a couple of hours. That's a cycle that they'll have throughout the day, so you want to have them out and active.

What are some fun activities to keep my puppy happy?

You want them to be able to interact with you. You are kind of their life, especially if you don't have a lot of other animals. They come from having their mom and a litter of other puppies to play with, so they're relying on you to keep them social and active. Interacting with your puppy and training the puppy is something you can do for play. Offering different types of toys and different interactions like that can really keep them stimulated.

Where can I safely take my puppy to play outside?

After their vaccines, they're going to be more protected and less susceptible to diseases out there. But, while they're doing their booster series, we need to be cautious. No dog parks, no taking them to PetSmart and things like that, where they are going to get exposed to a bunch of different dogs or environments that have dogs.

You can go to a friend or a family member's house that has safe yards and dogs that you know are healthy and vaccinated. You can also take them to the immediate area around your house, unless you know that there has been a case of Parvo in that area.

What activities can I do in my own home with my puppy?

Playing with toys and interacting with them is always good. Like I said, when you are training your puppy's mind, it is still playing and you can make training them a game, especially if it's getting rewarded with food or more play. Playing with toys like balls, different bones and stuffed toys are all things that will keep them active and keep them moving.

Are there any toys you should avoid buying for your puppy?

Puppies have puppy teeth and with puppy teeth comes shredding of toys and other items in your house. So, you want to get something that is pretty bulletproof so that they can't rip it apart and take out a squeaker that they can potentially swallow. The same goes for stuffing. You want to get something that they want to chew on, but won't really hurt their teeth. Different types of little Nylabones and Kong toys are all great to keep them entertained and are pretty indestructible.

You can even add some flavors inside, like peanut butter, that will make it a little more enticing to them. But I definitely don't recommend anything that you don't want the puppy to chew on, being something like a shoe, string or things you may not want the puppy otherwise gravitating towards. I wouldn't offer toys along those lines.

Can I leave my puppy alone with toys to keep him active when I'm not home?

You can. It depends on the type of toy. Like I mentioned a while ago, if it has stuffing and things that they could inadvertently rip up and destroy while you're gone, they could ingest it which could result in an emergency surgery.

You want to avoid those. But ones that are pretty hardy and can keep them entertained, are certainly good toys for them to have to keep them occupied while you're gone.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Activities & Fun - FAQs 3


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How much activity does my senior dog need each day?

Senior dogs are quite different from puppies and adult dogs. They start to slow down and take more time to relax. They don't need to expel as much energy, but you want to provide enough activity so they can still get up, get moving, and still be a little bit energized.

Why is it important to keep my senior dog active?

There are a couple of different reasons. For one, we want to keep them moving and keep those joints moving. They start to develop arthritis if they aren't moving their joints. They can have some atrophy occur in their muscles, which means that they are wasting away. If you don't use it, you lose it. So, we want those muscles to stay nice and firm, and allow them to get up and move. Secondly, we want to make sure that they're not becoming a bit too chunky. If they start becoming more obese, that arthritis will just get worse. Having them up and active keeps those joints moving and keeps them from having some issues when they become overweight.

What are some fun activities to keep my senior dog happy?

It's about having them interact with you. Many times, it's getting them up and moving and going on a walk at a slow pace where they can still get up and move and enjoy that time. If they love to play fetch, do that. They may not be able to go the longer distances anymore, but having them up and active with you is good to have them doing well in their later years.

Are there any activities that I should avoid?

You may want to avoid having those longer, strenuous walks, especially if your dog isn't used to that. If they've been conditioned for it their entire lives, stick with it, but I wouldn't go on any major hikes or walks that could cause them to have bad joint problems afterward. The same goes for jumping after a Frisbee where they may be more prone to getting injured. I would avoid that.

Are there any activities I can do in my home with my senior dog?

You can work on their obedience as that alone often stimulates their minds. Toss the ball in the house, play tug of war, or give them their favorite toy or treat that you choose.

Should I take my dog to the vet if they become less active?

It's something to have checked out, especially if your dog is normally a fairly active being and they just, all of a sudden, start to decline in how active that they are willing to be around the house. It may then be worth checking out. There are certain diseases and certain types of pain that can cause them to slow down.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

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