Just like in humans, exercise benefits our pups in so many healthy ways – from their hearts to their brains, and if we join them, we can strengthen the bond. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, take this short and simple quiz and determine whether your pooch could stand to pound the pavement a little more.
1. How often do you walk your dog?
a) Once a week to never
b) Every other day
c) Every day! (Like I could get away with less, I mean, c’mon!)
2. Do you ever play with your pet? (Throw a ball or Frisbee, etc.)
a) We rarely play, even inside.
b) A few times a week, we get outside and throw a ball.
c) Every time we go outside! This pup is a machine!
3. How many times a day is your dog fed?
a) 3 +
b) 2, sometimes more, plus lots of treats!
c) 2 (just breakfast and dinner)
4. What type of food are you feeding your dog?
a) Whatever’s on sale.
b) Corn- or wheat-based kibble is my dog’s fave, so I like to give her what she likes best.
c) Chicken-, turkey-, or another protein-based food with less fillers!
If you answered mostly a)…
Exercise. Without knowing your particular situation (and we’re not your dog’s vet), we can’t determine the health of your pup. We do know that dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day, and it doesn’t matter how they get it. Throwing a ball around, playing tug-of-war, and going for walks with your dog are all ways to fit in exercise.
Nutrition. While some dogs may be hypoglycemic, most are not candidates for feeding three+ times a day. Overfeeding a dog can also be dangerous, as obesity leads to many other health conditions, like heart disease and canine diabetes; adults should be fed twice per day. Be aware of what types of food you are feeding your dog as well. Grain-based foods pass right through a dog, causing them to eat more to fill up – and this can lead to weight gain.
If you answered mostly b)…
Exercise. You’re halfway there! Your dog is getting some exercise, just make sure you’re hitting the target of 30 to 60 minutes per day. If you personally can’t walk your dog every day, try signing up for a dog-walking service like Rover, and don’t forget to play tug-of-war or throw a Frisbee whenever you can. Plus, your dog wants to get active with you; it helps build our bond!
Nutrition. For food, adult dogs should be fed twice per day, but what they are given is just as important. Grain-based foods pass right through a dog, causing them to eat more to fill up – this leads to weight gain. Foods with specific meats listed as the main (first listed) ingredient are much healthier for your dog. Treats are good! But too many can lead to problems.
If you answered mostly c)…
Exercise. Congratulations, you’re meeting all of your dog’s exercise needs! If your dog is a candidate, you can consider branching out and take your pet hiking or swimming, but remember – injuries can happen to even the most athletic of dogs, so know when to call it for the day. Also, while some dogs love the dog park, others do not – so don’t force it. By keeping an eye on your pet’s happiness, you can help keep them healthy.
Nutrition. Great choice for food. Studies show that ingredients leading with low fat proteins are great for our dogs health (and even their eyesight and coat). Also a treat or two won’t hurt!
The bottom line? Exercise is important, but respecting your individual dog’s limits is best. Accidents and injuries can happen at any time to pups (and to the most well-intentioned pet parent). By enrolling in pet health insurance, you can protect your pets by saying “yes” to life-saving treatments. Start by getting a free quote.
Bonus: If you’d like more info on how to work out with your dog, check out our article, Wanna Work Out with Your Best Friend?