Have you ever come home to a little bit of destruction? Maybe a totally destroyed house? Or, do you sit in your home office struggling to concentrate amidst a concert of excessive barking? Well, these could be signs that your dog needs more exercise. Your dog’s breed, age, and size can help determine how much exercise your dog needs. While some are great with a daily walk or a strut around the backyard, others need much, much more exercise.
Here are some of the main signs that your dog is not getting enough exercise.
One of the most noticeable signs that your dog needs more exercise is weight gain. If your pup is packing on the pounds, it is time to add more exercise to their daily routine. Typically, you will see this in older dogs who are naturally slowing down as they age. If this is the case, you may need to reduce the amount of food they are getting since they may not be exercising like they used to — just like us, they need to burn off those calories.
Obesity can become a very serious problem in dogs, so it is critical that we as pet parents help our dogs keep their weight at a healthy level. It can lead to joint problems, skin, gland and hair issues, and cause an overall decline in your pet’s health. If you notice a sudden weight change or you don’t see the weight coming off like it should when exercise is ramped up, you should consult your veterinarian because there are certain diseases and disorders that can affect your dog’s weight.
If you have a bored or anxious dog, you may be seeing destructive behavior. This could be chewing up everything in sight (like paper towels, video games, boxes, your door trim/baseboards, your couch or your shoes) or creating a mess out of your home (like knocking things over) when no one is around. One of the best solutions is exercise. If you help your dog burn off some of that overflow energy, they won’t have the excess energy to be destructive. Burning off that extra energy will also help you avoid your dog accidently swallowing something they weren’t supposed to.
Excessive Barking & Restlessness
Most dogs will bark at the mailman or when they get excited, but it becomes excessive when they start barking at every far away neighborhood noise and for no apparent reason at all as far as you can tell. It is also not normal for your dog to pace the house day or night. As humans pace when they are restless, dogs will do the same. Similar to destructive behavior, a dog that is excessively barking or restless is showing signs of boredom and anxiousness. They have a lot of pent-up energy that needs to be released.
Pestering and Annoying Behavior
Does your dog whine a lot or is he/she constantly pestering you when you are home? They may also purposefully do the opposite of what you ask of them (like jumping on the couch when you ask them to go to their bed). These are signs that your dog has energy to burn. Our dogs aren’t trying to be annoying on purpose, they are trying to communicate in the best way they can that they need something from us.
If your dog needs more physical activity, you can do more than just taking them on a walk. There are lots of outdoor activities you can do like:
- Throwing the ball/playing fetch
- Going for a walk/run
- Going to the dog park for them to interact and play with other dogs or having a dog play-date
You can even have your dog do inside activities to release some energy. Things like:
- Lick mats
- Treat puzzles
- Chew toys
Not every activity is right for every dog, so you need to find what works for you and your pet.
No matter if your dog is young or old, tall or short, they need some type of exercise to stimulate themselves and burn off some steam. If your pet is showing one or more signs of not having enough exercise, give one of the above activities a try (or think of your own!) and see if you notice a difference in your dog’s behavior. I bet you do!