Calling all dog parents! Let’s start with some burning questions: Are you a newbie owner? Is your pooch packing on a few extra pounds? Are they bored? Or treating your loafers like chew toys?
One word: EXERCISE. It’s vital for a healthy, non-problem-child pooch. (And it can be good for your BMI, too!)
Your dog’s breed and age are the two factors that determine how much exercise they need. Check out these tips to be sure your pooch is getting the right amount of physical activity every day.
Start with Your Dog’s Breed Group
Your dog’s breed group helps determine their exercise needs.
Sporting group dogs are energetic, natural athletes who should get approximately 90 minutes of high-intensity exercise. They enjoy long, brisk walks, hikes in the woods, swimming and playing fetch.
Examples: Retrievers, pointers, setters and spaniels
Blue-collar pooches in the working group are happiest when they have a job to do. They need about one to two hours of fun, pant-inducing activity every day. Take them for long walks or hikes, or create a homemade agility course in your backyard.
Examples: Boxers, Alaskan malamutes, Rottweilers and Siberian huskies
Sixty to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise and play daily? That’s what most high-IQ, high-energy herding group dogs need. You can’t go wrong with activities that challenge them physically and mentally, like long power walks and fun games like fetch, chase and Frisbee.
Examples: Shepherds, collies and sheepdogs
Sight hound dogs need roughly 30 minutes of regular exercise, and scent hound dogs should get about one hour of intense exercise. Take sight hounds on walks or have them do a couple of sprint workouts each week. Scent hounds need longer periods of vigorous activity and love hiking, jogging or playing tracking games in the woods. (Shocking, we know.)
Examples: Afghan hounds, greyhounds, whippets, beagles, bloodhounds and basset hounds
Short-legged terrier group breeds need about 30 minutes of exercise every day, while their longer-legged counterparts need one hour or more. Ideal exercises include fast-paced walks, hikes in the forest and chasing their favorite squeaky ball in the backyard or park.
Examples: Jack Russell terriers, West Highland white terriers (Westies), Yorkshire terriers (Yorkies) and schnauzers
Most petite pups in the toy group are lap dogs, but they should still get approximately 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise — they tend to get too husky when they don’t get proper workouts. Plus, toy dogs can really get their hearts pumping in a small area, so consider complementing your daily walks with indoor dog exercise.
Examples: Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Maltese
here are a ton of different breeds in the nonsporting group, so start with 30 minutes of daily exercise and adjust. Each breed’s exercise needs are unique, and short-nosed dogs, like bulldogs and Shih Tzus, should only have short periods of moderate activity.
Examples: Dalmatians, bulldogs, chow chows and poodles
If you’re the proud parent of a mutt who’s mushed your heart, just follow the exercise suggestions for the most dominant breed or two. (Or ask your vet!)
Factor in Your Dog’s Age
When figuring out how to exercise with your dog, consider your dog’s age. Each stage has unique exercise requirements.
Puppy Exercise Needs
Puppies are balls of energy that do best with short bursts of exercise. (Think zoomies in the backyard.) The best activities are short, easy walks, a few play sessions throughout the day and, of course, obedience training. Avoid long walks and running because they can be too hard on your pup’s growing bones and joints.
Adult Dog Exercise Needs
Healthy adult dogs can do just about anything! Whether it’s walking, running, hiking, swimming, or playing tug-of-war or fetch, they’ll be getting the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy — plus they’ll enjoy spending time with you.
Senior Dog Exercise Needs
Although your senior dog might move at a slightly slower pace than before, they still need exercise and playtime. You may want to shorten walks and fetch time, though, and do other low-impact activities like learning new tricks.
Fuel Your Dog Every Day
Finally, make sure your dog is properly fueled for their next workout. Feed them high-quality, nutritionally balanced IAMS™ food that’s tailored for their unique size and life stage.
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What Is Bloat?
Bloat is a life-threatening condition that acts rapidly and can lead to death within hours if not recognized and treated immediately. Unfortunately, the cause of bloat remains unknown at this time.
The scientific term for bloat is gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV. Bloat is characterized by rapid and abnormal expansion of the stomach with gas (dilatation). This can be followed by rotation of the stomach (volvulus). This rotation closes both the entry to and exit from the stomach. The blood vessels also are closed down, and blood flow is restricted.
What follows is an increase in pressure inside the stomach and compression of the surrounding organs. Eventually, shock will occur as a result of the restricted blood flow. Here are a few key facts about bloat:
- Bloat should always be treated as a medical emergency.
- Bloat can kill a dog within hours after onset.
- The cause of bloat is unknown.
- Bloat affects 36,000 dogs in the United States each year; 30% die as a result of this condition.
- Bloat can occur in dogs of any age.
- Certain breeds are more susceptible to bloat, particularly deep-chested dogs.
- The stomach rapidly expands with gas then rotates on the long axis. Entry to and exit from the stomach is prohibited, causing blood vessels to close and restriction of blood flow.
Signs of Bloat
Bloat is a true medical emergency, and early identification and treatment is critical to survival.
In the early stages of bloat, the dog will be very uncomfortable. You might see him pacing and whining or trying unsuccessfully to get into a comfortable position. He might seem anxious, might lick or keep staring at his stomach, and might attempt to vomit, without success.
Other indications of bloat can include weakness, swelling of the abdomen, and even signs of shock. Signs of shock are increased heart rate and abnormally rapid breathing.
If you notice these signs, call your veterinarian immediately!
- Inability to get comfortable
- Pacing or restlessness
- Pale gums
- Unproductive attempts to vomit
- Abnormally rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Pain, weakness
- Swelling of the abdomen (particularly the left side)
Helping Prevent Bloat
These suggestions could help you prevent bloat in your dog. However, they are based on suspected risk factors and are not guaranteed to prevent the onset of bloat.
- Feed small amounts of food frequently, two to three times daily.
- Avoid exercise for one hour before and two hours after meals.
- Don't let your dog drink large amounts of water just before or after eating or exercise.
- If you have two or more dogs, feed them separately to avoid rapid, stressful eating.
- If possible, feed at times when after-feeding behavior can be observed.
- Avoid abrupt diet changes.
- If you see signs of bloat, call your veterinarian immediately.
Another way you might help prevent bloat is to feed a high-quality, highly digestible food with normal fiber levels.
Feeding management offers the best method available for reducing risk until the exact cause of bloat can be identified. Although not 100% effective, these measures can reduce the number of dogs that face this serious, life-threatening condition.
- German Shepherd
- Bouvier de Flandres
- Great Dane
- St. Bernard
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Irish Setter
- Gordon Setter
- Irish Wolfhound
- Labrador Retriever
- Basset Hound
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