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Your dog needs daily exercise as much as you do, but he’ll probably be a bit of a distraction if you take him to the gym. Regular physical activity, no matter what form it comes in, will have major benefits for your dog’s health. For one, it prevents the development of chronic issues such as joint pain and diabetes and promotes heart and lung health. Plus, the vitamin D from the sun keeps your dog’s skin and coat healthy while also regulating melatonin so that your dog isn’t waking you up at odd hours of the night. You’ll enjoy the added mood boost too! The bottom line? Your dog needs exercise, but what are your options?

Hit the Pavement

Going for a walk might sound like a pretty mundane activity, but for your dog, it opens up a world of opportunity. Take a moment and think about it from your dog’s perspective. He spends a lot of time indoors, napping or playing with the same toy over and over again, so walking gives him an opportunity to see new things and take in all sorts of new smells. Each time you pull out the leash, you probably notice your dog’s ears perk up and that his tail starts wagging. The excitement continues throughout the walk as he sniffs here and explores there. Your dog will likely encounter other people and dogs too, providing socialization. While walking certainly gives your dog a little bit of freedom, you need the right leash to maintain control. This list provides options to meet all your walking needs, including retractable leashes, reflective options, as well as padded and dual handles. Remember, you’re walking your dog, not the other way around.

Create a Backyard Playground

We’ve all got our own idea of the ideal backyard, but your dog probably has a dream backyard too. There are plenty of options for outdoor fun, but for the safety of your dog, you’ll want to put up some sort of fence first. According to Improvenet, most homeowners spend between $216 and $4,399 to install a fence. A fence probably wouldn’t be your dog’s first choice in their backyard design, but there are ways to make it more appealing with greenery for sniffing and mulch piles for digging. Once you’re sure your dog won’t be able to make a break for it, you can start filling your yard with all sorts of fun activities such as toys and agility equipment. If you have children, set up some outdoor tunnels that both your four-legged and two-legged children will enjoy. Plus, it will serve as an ideal shady spot on hot days. Speaking of hot days, be sure you have a water bowl set up with fresh water at all times to keep your dog cool and hydrated.

Indoor Options

Sometimes, the weather just doesn’t cooperate. Hot days, rain showers, and storms aren’t conducive to an outdoor workout with your dog, but there are ways to get your dog moving inside too. Instead of filling up the food bowl all at once, send your dog on a kibble hunt by placing it all over the house (you’ll need to crate him so that he won’t get a head start). Using this same idea, you and other family members can hide throughout the house with treats and toys. Take turns calling your dog, and give him a reward when he finds someone. Being stuck indoors is also a great opportunity to brush up on basic commands and training. Perhaps the two of you could practice an indoor leashed walk, especially if your dog has a tendency to pull on the leash or get distracted. If you happen to have another doggy friend, set up an indoor play date to work on his socialization skills or just give him a chance to play with another dog.

Your dog needs exercise, and as a bonus, you’ll get exercise right along with him. Going for walks, setting up a backyard play place, and playing indoor games are just a few of the many fun ways to get your dog up and moving. Your dog is a willing participant, so what are you waiting for?