A dog is for life, as the famous saying goes, and it’s essential that your lifestyle is compatible with a particular breed before you become responsible for providing the puppy love.
One of the most important aspects of ensuring a healthy, happy dog is understanding exactly how much exercise he or she needs and fitting that into your daily routine. If, for example, you’re strapped for space where you live, or if you don’t have time for regular high energy activity with your pampered pal, then a breed with a lower expectation for exercise will suit you. If, however, you’re a very energetic person who enjoys long walks as a daily activity, then a similarly active dog is perfect for spending quality time with and keeping fit.
You can find advice on breed needs when arranging pet insurance, as there’s a serious risk to the mental and physical health of an energetic doggy whose host family can’t keep up. A vet will be able to advise you if a dog isn’t getting enough exercise, though obvious signs include the dog becoming restless, running around and scratching the door, and even becoming obese without regular activity.
Underactive dogs also miss the mental stimulation associated with physical exercise, and it’s important that your pampered pals don’t get bored as they may misbehave or even run away from homes where lifestyles are incompatible. Taking a frisbee for dog walks is an easy way of enlivening a walk for both you and your pet and, for some breeds, games and tasks are essential to their emotional well-being.
It can be expected that smaller dogs tend to need less exercise – little pooches such as Dachshunds or Chihuahuas are cute little couch potatoes compared to larger breeds, though this isn’t always the case, as a little Boston Terrier or Jack Russell can be highly energetic for their size. Similarly, some larger dogs can be less energetic than others – Great Danes like a snooze and Greyhounds are surprisingly calm for big, fast dogs, though they do love to chase a dog ball.
Energetic owners with a busy exercise schedule can rise to the challenge of dogs that need lots of exercise, including Border Collies and Dalmatians, just by using simple props like these. Take a dog ball or frisbee for dog walks and these breeds will be running around in hot pursuit.
More chilled-out breeds include Pugs – indeed they must avoid overly strenuous activity because they can find breathing difficult and get very hot. Bulldogs are famously lazy, but obesity problems can affect them if the owner doesn’t encourage exercise.
Remember, every dog is unique and special, so always ask a vet’s advice and keep an eye on your canine companion’s physical appearance and general well-being. The most important thing to remember is that you should never choose a breed of dog in the expectation of changing habits when the dog arrives – while you may adapt to a different lifestyle for a week or two, it’s unlikely that you’ll change your ways over a longer period of time. Instead, you must already be active in your daily life before taking on the challenge of a demanding dog – and don’t forget the dog ball!