Daily Activity Promotes Wellness
We know the two keys for staying healthy are diet and exercise. We also know that our long-term health and happiness are tied to being active and having fun. Turns out, the same rules apply to our dogs!
Keeping our dogs active keeps them fit, happy, and healthy, which leads to a longer life. And, of course, the opposite is true: inactive dogs who aren’t challenged physically or mentally are at risk for a whole range of problems. Without a combo of physical and mental activity, dogs suffer from the same conditions that inactive people do: lethargy, obesity, arthritis, and more.
So what is "activity?" For your dog, an activity is anything that gets him moving or thinking.
Activity is also becoming increasingly important, as busy lifestyles are having an affect on dogs' overall wellness. Banfield Pet Hospital, in their annual nationwide pet health survey, the 2012 State of Pet Health, reported the number of overweight and obese pets has reached epidemic proportions. "Since 2007, the prevalence of overweight dogs has increased almost 37 percent; the prevalence in mature adult dogs increased by 43 percent and 68 percent in geriatric dogs," the report stated.
Dr. Geri-Lake Bakaar, a California-based veterinarian who specializes in cardiology, adds that "One of the biggest rising causes of morbidity for dogs is obesity, just like it is for people." Her solution? "Really, the most important thing is exercise, just getting out there. You don't have to do hours and hours a day, but getting out and moving and exercising." Simple and effective, and hopefully something we can all bite off and chew!
Beyond the purely physical benefits, there are many mental benefits that come from daily activity, too. Dogs who are inactive get bored. And bored dogs find ways to keep themselves busy by doing things, like shredding the couch, chewing your shoes, or barking nonstop. Other dogs dig up the backyard, find ways to slip out of the fence, or leave "presents" inside the house. These destructive behaviors can be prevented and even eliminated with daily activity, which leads to a calmer dog and a happier home—key ingredients to better wellness.
If your dog is healthier, they’ll feel better, so they’ll be happier too. And that’s what we all want.
Jun 3, 2013