Taking care of our animals involves paying special attention to all areas of their health. Feeding them the proper types and amounts of food, making sure they are current with their vaccinations and check-ups, and keeping them clean are all ways that we traditionally imagine caring for our animals. However, sometimes with the busy-ness of daily life, it’s easy to forget that our pets also need daily attention and physical activity. In fact, sometimes it can even be difficult for us to provide that for ourselves! Taking time every day to play with your dog is not only important for their overall mental and physical health, but it can be a truly beneficial experience for you as well. Dogs in particular are known for their therapeutic qualities; we just have to find the enjoyment in the daily activities they require to stay healthy. Beyond just walking your dog or taking them to a dog park, there are other games and activities you can bring into your daily routine that will add excitement to both you and your dog’s lives. Here are a few easy games you can try with your own dog:
An old classic, Tug of War is a great way to build your dog’s strength and wear them out. After a long day of cabin fever, your dog will greatly appreciate the one-on-one time with you and will benefit greatly from the physical activity this game offers. There are many inexpensive toys you can purchase for this game, or you can simply use a piece of rope from the garage to engage your dog in Tug of War—you don’t need fancy materials to make it fun and exciting! This is a great way to build your dog’s strength and create a bonding moment.
Not all dogs are able to play fetch, run long distances, or put pressure on their legs with ease. You can bring water games into your arsenal of activities for your pup that will give them the exercise they need to help them build their endurance and get their heart rate up without the strain of on-ground physical activity. Water games are easier on joints and hips than traditional games, and it can be fun to see your dog in a new element—literally! Add a few toys that they can either dive for or swim toward, and you’ve got a whole new spin on “fetch.”
Combining endurance, skill, and training, agility courses are an excellent way to help your dog become more obedient while expending their mental and physical energy. Many dog breeds are exceptional at agility courses, and yours can be too with a little creative effort. You can make an agility course out of couch cushions, buckets, or other materials lying around your house or in your garage. You can even take them to a park and have them utilize existing structures like benches and rocks if you live in a cramped space like an apartment. Your dog craves one-on-one time, and this is a perfect way to bond with him.
Newer developments in dog toys have helped owners with creative solutions to entertaining their pooches. If you have some extra cash, you can purchase a dog toy that includes compartments that can be stuffed with smaller toys or treats. Dogs are natural investigators and detectives; they love to find hidden stuff using all of their senses. These toys are an especially great way to keep your dog occupied while you can’t be with him.
Not all games work well for all dogs, and you know your dog better than anyone else does. Look for games that fit well into your schedule, but also keep in mind that your dog could help bring more activity into your own life as well. Games that allow you to interact and spend time with your dog are optimal because they can help you become more active and engaged in your pet’s life. Providing veterinary and emergency services for the areas near Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, and Chatsworth, we have over a decade of experience in animal health. If you have any questions about possible activities for your own pup, contact us at Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital and Emergency; we can help you come up with an individualized activity plan that suits both you and your animal!