These days we are all spending a lot more time at home and indoors, which has affected how our families function, our schedules and social life, and yes, how our pet’s daily routines are carried out. When you can’t get your dog outdoors as often, or the weather is just awful, it becomes necessary to find ways to get your dog to exercise inside your home. Challenging as it can be, there are lots of ways you can exercise your dog in the comfort and even small spaces of your home. We thought you might want some great ideas on how to do this.
Let’s talk about dog exercise: what your dog needs every day to maintain their optimum health, helpful daily things you can do to support your dog’s health, and some ways you can incorporate exercise into an indoor environment.
How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?
How much exercise a dog needs depends a lot on your dog. How old are they? What size is your dog? What breed is your dog? Some breeds require less or more activity to keep them healthy and mentally stimulated for a wonderful and happy life.
Your pet’s optimum weight is also a consideration – do they need to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight? Does your pet have injuries or health concerns that affect its ability to exercise? All of these factors affect how often your dog can and should engage in exercise activities, as well as what types of exercises they will be able to do comfortably.
In general, dogs need 30-60 minutes of daily exercise. Your pet’s veterinarian can help you understand the factors involved and make a recommendation to you about how much exercise your dog needs. Daily exercise for your dog can help prevent depression, anxiety, and obesity and keep their heart, muscles, and joints strong. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!
So let’s get our paws on some great ideas for getting your pooch off the couch and into some exercise to keep them physically healthy and mentally well.
Dog Exercise Tips
A few quick tips to get you started:
- Consider your dog’s personality and preferences. Do they love to run and jump? Play with toys? Are they prone to the “zoomies” when they get excited? Plan your indoor exercise activities with things you know your dog will enjoy.
- Safety-proof any areas where your dog will be running around or playing. You don’t want them knocking down expensive home decor, tripping over cords, or banging into things that could hurt them.
- Never force your dog to do activities they are uncomfortable doing. Keep it fun and lighthearted, so your dog feels secure.
Ways to Get Your Dog More Active Indoors
From fun indoor games to creative ways to use your space, we’ve got some great ideas for indoor dog exercise that will get you and your pooch moving.
Get Playful with Your Dog
Much of doggie exercise is about playing. Spontaneous play alone isn’t really enough to meet your dog’s daily exercise needs. To get the ball rolling, so to speak, how about some fun indoor play to liven up your dog’s daily routine?
- Roll a ball for your dog to fetch.
- Toss around a chew toy for your dog to run after and find.
- Teach your dog a new trick.
- Take a walk with your dog around your home.
- Play on the floor with your dog. Pat the floor in front of them to encourage playful behavior.
- Play a lite game of tug-of-war if your dog can play this game without aggression. (Use your discretion based on your dog’s temperament and breed.)
- Play hide and seek with your dog’s toys. Use an excited voice to ask, “Where’s your piggie?” and lead them on the search. Your dog will respond to your upbeat and curious tone.
- Try some enticing “brain games” to keep your dog mobile and mentally active.
- Hold treats or toys up in the air and encourage your dog to jump up to get them.
Use the Tools at Hand in Your Home
Remember, when your dog is inside for long periods, aside from a quick outdoor potty trip, it’s easy for them to get bored or settle into a lazy routine that doesn’t meet their needs for exercise. If your indoor space is small, you may have to be creative in finding active ways your dog can use the space to move around.
When exercising your dog indoors, you have to work with what you have in your home. Do you have indoor stairs? You can run your dog up and down the stairs by tossing a ball for them to fetch. If you have space in your garage or a large room, you can set up an obstacle course for your dog. This way is great for your dog to work on their agility and balance and keep their heart healthy. There are some great DIY doggie obstacle courses you can make for indoor play.
You can also leave a fun trail of doggie treats as you playfully move through your home, leading your dog on a game of “come and get me.” Be sure to reward your pooch with lots of love and snuggles when they “catch” you.
If you have a treadmill in your home, talk with your vet about how you may be able to use it to help your dog get in longer walks indoors. You can safely use a treadmill for your dog with supervision, especially for dogs at risk of obesity. Your vet can help you with some tips for the speed and duration of treadmill-walking for your dog. Never leave a dog unattended on a treadmill!
Hiding Treats for a Fun Game
Hide and seek works great with your dog’s favorite toys, but don’t forget your dog would love to dig up a tasty treat!
- Toss a pile of old blankets or pillows on the floor and hide treats in the stack.
- Put some tasty CBD peanut butter inside of a licking toy and hide the toy. Once you show your dog the peanut butter they love is tucked inside, you can bet they’ll go on an exciting hunt through your home trying to find it!
- Hide a tasty dog bone or chewy CBD treat for a rewarding hunt.
Remember that dog exercise is about keeping your dog healthy and promoting activity, so be careful with the kinds of treats you give to your dog as part of a wellness or exercise program. Look for high-quality treats with beneficial ingredients such as sweet potato or peanut butter – you can even make your own!
Other Measures to Support Your Dog’s Health
- Take your dog to the vet twice a year for their wellness visits.
- To offer a well-rounded exercise program for your dog, consider other factors such as their diet, sleeping habits, and the cleanliness of their living areas, dog bowls, and waterers.
- The sidewalks and paved roads they walk on usually keep their nails buffed down a little shorter. More days indoors may mean your dog’s nails get longer than usual. Keep their nails trimmed at a comfortable length, so they don’t hurt their paw pads or break a nail.
- If your dog is using a daily CBD regimen as part of their wellness plan or taking any vitamin supplements, continue these as directed by your pet’s veterinarian.
- Check your dog for injuries, sore spots, skin irritations, teeth and gum issues, or any other area of concern after a rigorous playing session. Never let your dog chew on hard plastic or empty soda bottles as these can tear and cut their gums, tongue, or the roof of their mouth.
- Spend quality time with your dog, whether in play or rest. Your dog loves being close to you and needs your supportive love and friendship for a content and happy life.
Make Dog Exercise a Priority
While we all learn how to manage our lives more from home, remember that it changes things for our dogs, too. While they love us being around more and having extra time for belly rubs and cuddles, they need us to make sure they stay healthy while cooped up. Incorporating a little fun play and dog exercise into your daily to-do list will keep your dog physically strong and emotionally healthy as we all adjust to our homebound lives.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out our fun and helpful pet blog!