From Great Danes to Chihuahuas, dogs of all sizes benefit from regular exercise. But it’s important that you develop an exercise routine that fits your dog’s unique needs. Owners of small dogs often wonder how they should ensure their furry friend gets their daily dose of exercise because while their size may pose restrictions.
Learn the main benefits of regular exercise for dogs and some of the best ways to get that daily activity in if you have a small dog breed.
The Benefits of Regular Exercise
Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t recognize the importance of regular, and appropriate, exercise for their four-legged companion. There are many behavioral and physical benefits of exercise, such as cardiovascular health and less destructive habits.
Like children, dogs must have an outlet for their energy or they will likely turn to more destructive behavior. Regular exercise will help address:
- Destructive chewing
- Digging outside
- Raiding the garbage, laundry, or other forbidden areas
- Barking or whining
There are many health benefits of regular exercise, including:
- Helping dogs stay agile
- Helping with digestive and eating issues
- Better sleep because the dog is more tired
- A healthy heart and muscles
Now that we understand the benefits of regular exercise for your dog, let’s look at some of the best exercises for small dog breeds.
While physical exercise is important, mental exercises are important as well. Brain games are also a great way to engage with your small dog, especially if you live in an apartment or condo. You may not have the resources or time to take your small dog on a long walk every day, but brain games require little space and produce great rewards. Here are some examples of brain games you can play with your small dog to get their mind moving:
- Food puzzles, like this one that allows you to hide and treat and make your dog think to get it out
- Hide and seek, which involves you hiding and your dog finding you. They will be ecstatic when they win!
- Hiding a treat under a cup, and training your dog to learn which cup the treat is under
- Treasure hunt, which involves hiding a treat or toy among many different objects
As you can tell, these games require little space but get your dog thinking and moving. Exercise, of both the body and mind, is key to a healthy companion.
Regardless of their size, all dogs benefit from regular exercise and engagement. But small dogs face different concerns than larger breeds, which is why most dog owners seek out exercises that are appropriate for their dog’s size. Some of our favorite small dog exercises are playing with bubbles, going to the dog park, and going on slower, shorter walks.
Play with Bubbles
You may have thought that bubbles are just for kids, but dogs love them too! Bubbles are a safe and fun way to get your dog moving in a limited space.
First, grab some doggy-safe bubbles. Some companies make special formulas just for dogs, but the average drugstore bubbles should work just fine. Next, take your dog outside to a patio or backyard.
Blow the bubbles up and around and watch the motion mesmerize your pup. It may take some getting used to, but chances are your small dog will love jumping around and hunting the bubbles. Most small dog breeds were bred as hunters and bird dogs, which is why the motion and chasing gets their attention.
Go to the Dog Park
Taking your dog to the dog park is not only a great form of exercise, but it’s also a good way to socialize shy dogs. Whether you drive or walk there, this social opportunity will get your dog moving at their own pace. Small dogs can spend time with other small dogs, while the big dogs run their hearts out.
Some small dogs might shy away from exercise if they feel intimidated by others or the rigorous nature of long runs, but the dog park provides a safe space for them to exercise at their own pace.
Slower, Shorter Walks
Not every walk has to be miles long to get your puppy pooped. Some days, a shorter, slower walk is better. When taking your small dog out, try to let them stop and smell the flowers as you go. This will engage their other senses and allow them to still get the exercise they need while not pushing them too hard.
Regular exercise is crucial for all dog breeds, regardless of the size. By getting their minds and bodies moving, you and your dog will have a happy and healthy life.