There has never been a better time to play with your dog than right this very minute. The weather’s gorgeous, you’re both feeling a little antsy, and the truth is, a bit of outdoor time goes a long way toward overall health and wellness. 

Whether you’ve got a perfectly content little lap dog or a busy working breed, the time you put in to play with your dog can make all the difference in both of your lives.

The Long View

Depending on your dog’s age and breed, the general recommendation involves 30-60 minutes of exercise every day. This could mean a simple walk around the block, a trip to the park, or a strenuous hike.

As long as your pet’s needs are provided for, including lots of fresh water, shade and rest, you and your dog can relish the time together.

Health, Wellness and Safety

Keeping your dog at their ideal weight is critical for long term health and wellness. Not only important to ward off diabetes and osteoarthritis, but keeping them away from any weight gain can add to their longevity.

Daily exercise also keeps their heart and lungs working well, and contributes to mental health, too. Given daily opportunities to work out decreases anxiety, stress and fear. Hopefully, when you play with your dog every day, you’ll notice less pacing, whining or destructive behaviors.

It’s Time to Play With Your Dog!

To help you and your dog find some new things to do together this spring and summer, we offer the following 10 ideas. Have fun!

  1. Fetch! Have some fun with your dog’s favorite ball or Frisbee. If they aren’t interested at first, smear a bit of peanut butter on the toy and launch it across the yard. You might have to train them to release it to you, but it’s good exercise and fun, to boot!
  2. Hide and Seek! Who doesn’t love to play this game? You can train your dog to wait until you hide to come find you, or simply have someone else hold onto them or keep them inside until you’re ready. 
  3. With treats! You can also do a rendition of hide and seek with your pet’s favorite treats or toys. Be sure to encourage them and give them hints. Reward them with extra praise when they find something. 
  4. Dig! Set up a spot in the yard just for them to dig into. Alternatively, build them a little sand box to dig in and play together. Be sure to brush them out before coming inside the house.
  5. Swim! A small kiddie pool can provide lots of stress relief and helps keep heat stroke at bay. Add a bit of fun to this by playing fetch in and around the pool.
  6. Flirt! Build your predatory dog their very own flirt pole with various household items. This is a great way to play with your dog while giving their prey drive an outlet. 
  7. Bubbles are incredibly fun for dogs to chase and squash. Be prepared to make lots of extra soapy solution as there may be no end to your dog’s fascination.
  8. Remote control cars are an excellent addition to a treat retrieval game. Simply place a treat on top of the car and move it around remotely. Trai your pet to wait for the car to stop to pick up their treat.
  9. Treat dispensing toys are super fun to use after you play with your dog. Give them a Kong full of peanut butter, or another treat, and watch them cleverly work at it until satisfied.
  10. Building your own agility course is a great option to play with your dog. Challenging them physically and mentally adds benefit to long, quiet days together. Customize the course based on your dog’s skills and preferences. Work on obedience commands to highlight their prowess on the court.

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the benefits of exercise, please let us know. We’re always here for you and your dog at Clairmont Animal Hospital.