Exercise Tips for Dogs

How much exercise does a dog need every day?  And secondly, how do you exercise a dog?

Here are some tips and tricks to getting some much-needed exercise into your furry friend. No matter what size, breed or age, most dogs will benefit greatly from some form of exercise. Taking your dog around the block is a great start but the reality is that some breeds need quite a bit more.  High energy breeds require not only physical exercise but mental training as well.  We’ll tell you all about that a little later.

Walking – Dogs love the outdoors. Most don’t even mind the weather…whatever that may be. Typically we like to trek the same route in our neighbourhood for each walk. Our dogs get to know the area, mark their territory and even know exactly where and who is close by. Let’s take our walks one step further.

PRO TIP: Change your route often. Not only will it be more interesting for you but your fido will have to think just a bit more, remark territories, learn the route and pay attention to where you’re heading. All of this will tire him out way more than you think. Brain training for those high-energy dogs is just as important as physical training.

Swimming – Most dogs love the water and swimming is great for dogs with joint problems. This high-intensity, low-impact training is amazing for our senior dogs who otherwise get sore from pavement walks – and for the youth, it burns just that much more energy! A lifejacket can help your dog stay in the water longer for an optimum workout.

PRO TIP: Be sure to thoroughly dry your pet after each swim to avoid hot spots. Remember to get into those ears!

Fetch – Fetch doesn’t have to be boring. Try throwing a ball uphill or into some water. Test out an agility ball for some reaction training. Alternate between balls, frisbees or other toys to keep them interested.

PRO TIP:  Never play fetch off a deck. Steer clear of obstacles that can lead to injury especially in the knees. Also, whenever there’s a toy that has a piece torn, broken, or loose strings, be sure to throw it out immediately. Always use size-appropriate balls that they can’t inadvertently swallow.

Dog Sports – There are a variety of sports/activities that your dog can learn to participate in. Scent work, agility, obedience and flyball to name a few.

Losing Weight Through Exercise

Just like humans, diet and exercise are key ingredients to losing weight. Increasing intensity and duration of exercise, as well as decreasing caloric intake are the three most important components of a successful weight loss program.

Walking for pleasure is probably the most common walk we tend to go on. Taking time for our pooch to stop and smell the roses, not breaking a sweat while doing it. Unfortunately, a leisurely pace just doesn’t cut it for weight loss. Walking for weight loss is very different. Aim for a brisk 30 min walk where you actually break a sweat.  Not a lot of time to sniff and mark.  This walk is goal-driven.

Other types of exercise:

Food bowls – Move the food bowl upstairs or downstairs. Continue to change locations frequently so that he has to search and find, and essentially “go for a walk” to find their food.

Puzzle feeders/treat balls – Use a treat ball or a puzzle feeder to help slow down ingestion and help them feel more full.

Body Condition Score Guides

Body Condition Scoring is a tool to help you understand what is an ideal shape for your pet. Check the following guides to see if your pet is in the right shape.


by Tania Admans, RVT


Exercise Tips for Dogs

How much exercise does a dog need every day?  And secondly, how do you exercise a dog? Here are some tips and tricks to getting some much-needed exercise into your furry friend. No matter what size, breed or age, most dogs will benefit greatly from some form of exercise.

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Last updated: December 23, 2021

Dear Clients,

With the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in our region, we are temporarily moving back to curbside service, with no pet parents in the building during appointments. Our top priority here at Elgin Animal Hospital is the ongoing health and safety of our clients, their pets, and our dedicated team members that serve you and the community. Our goal is to remain open in order to provide necessary care for your pets. In order to do this, we need to keep our team healthy and do our best to minimize exposure.

Here is what you can expect:


  • When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and call us at 519-631-0430 to let us know you are here
  • Our Reception Team will let you know when we are ready for you, and ask you to come in the appointment door
  • A staff member will meet you just inside the vestibule to take the patient into the hospital for their appointment
  • Our Veterinarian will communicate with you via phone call - so please be sure to bring your cellphone to your appointment!
  • We have payment over the phone for credit cards, or a portable debit machine can be brought to the vestibule if needed
  • Food & Medication Pick Up

  • Will continue safely via the food/med pick-up door Come in the door on your right -- no need to call when you arrive
  • We are highly recommending our clients sign up for myVETstore for purchasing food for their pets
  • We also ask that you please call in your pet's medication & food refills 3-5 days in advance as we are experiencing some shipment delays once again
  • These measures are temporary and we will reassess as time goes on. We are constantly analyzing our day-to-day actions and we appreciate your patience. We will continue to implement procedures that are in the best interest of both you, our clients and our staff.

    If you are not feeling well in any way, or if you have interacted with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 we ask that you stay isolated and do not visit us at the clinic. If your pet needs medical attention please have a family member or friend bring in your pet or pick up your prescriptions or food.

    Together, we can all help in stopping the spread of COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us at (519) 631-0430. Please note that we are receiving more calls than usual. We apologize for any delays that you may experience when reaching out to us.

    - Your dedicated team at Elgin Animal Hospital