Dog toys are an excellent way to provide additional exercise for your dog. Especially if you have a high energy breed that requires more exercise than a walk can provide. To learn about how much exercise your particular dog needs daily see here.
Why Dogs Need Exercise
Exercise is vital for your dog’s health and overall well-being. This doesn’t only apply to physical health but includes mental and emotional well-being also. Mental stimulation helps to prevent boredom which often can lead to behavior issues. Mental exercise can, in fact, tire a dog just as much as physical activity.
One of the best ways to provide mental stimulation and challenges for a dog is to provide them with interactive puzzle toys. For more on the Top puzzle toys for dogs see here.
Other reasons your dog needs to receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation are;
- keeps them fit and their bodies in top physical condition. Dogs that stay lean and fit are less likely to have joint issues, diabetes, and even some forms of cancers.
- for mental and emotional health and wellbeing. Being confirmed to their home 24/7 is mentally frustrating and unhealthy for a dog. Even if you have a large backyard, this does not exercise your dog.
- to provide socialization. Dogs are social animals by nature. Not having the opportunity for social contact with people and other animals can impact their mental health.
- aids in training.
- prevents injury by keeping bones, muscles, and tendons strong and supple.
- boosts the immune system by keeping the heart and internal organs healthy.
- helps with weight management.
- prevents behavior issues by preventing boredom. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. A bored dog will look for ways to alleviate this boredom. Often this in ways that are destructive or even dangerous.
- is an important time in building your bond with your dog.
- helps with mobility for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia and arthritis. If this is the case for your dog read “Exercise for arthritic dogs” and “Exercise for dogs with hip dysplasia”
Ideally, the daily walk should be the core of all dogs’ exercise routine, but it is important to add other activities and play to release pent-up energy and stimulate their minds. Learn about the side effects of not walking your dog here. Providing a good selection of dog exercise toys is often one of the best ways to provide this additional activity.
Recommended exercise toys for dogs
A Flirt pole is like a giant cat tickler for dogs. It has a long handle with a bungy type rope with a lure or toy attached to the end. You simply move the lure along the ground around in circles or in different directions as your dog chases it. This activity is ideal for an active dog as it works the whole body and strengthens their muscles. Be sure they have a good “leave it” command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. It is important that this be a controlled exercise. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.
View Flirt poles on Amazon
Varram Pet Fitness Robot
The Varram Pet Fitness Robot is the newest automatic chase toy for dogs and cats. This device is super smart and ideal to keep your dog active when home alone. Using an app on your iPhone or Android you can schedule when to activate or have it in sleep mode. It also can sense when your pet is near wanting to play. It also has an obstacle avoidance ability and can learn where obstacles are.
The Varram Pet Robot has a few more functions than other smart chase toys available for dogs and as a result, is a little more expensive. To learn more about other dog toys that move on their own see here.
It has a built-in treat dispenser to reward your dog for playing. It also provides all the stats and reports on the smartphone app such as monitoring your dog’s activity and how many treats were dispensed.
View the Varram Pet Fitness Robot on Amazon.
If your dog is ball mad then the Wicked Ball is the ultimate moving dog toy for them. The magic ball runs and bounces all by itself and the LED light adds another level of engagement for your dog. No App or remote controller required.
It has several settings such as the Intelligent Companion mode. In this mode, the Wicked ball has 10 minutes of play and 30 minutes of rest. If your dog pushes or hits the ball it starts the play cycle again. It also has three reaction modes (gentle, normal, active) so you can set it to suit your dog’s mood. Due to its obstacle avoidance system (collision sensor), it doesn’t get stuck in tight spots.
The Wicked ball is durable and dog safe and is also waterproof so can be played with when swimming. It also has a treat hole for dogs that are food motivated.
View the Wicked Ball on Amazon.
Automatic Ball Launchers
Fetch is the favorite game of the majority of dogs. I am sure you have had the experience of your dog wanting you to throw the ball just a few more times. With an Automatic Ball Launcher, they can play fetch by all by themselves. This will require training them to put the ball in the funnel initially, but once they know what to do they are away and fetching. Read “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs” to learn more
Manual Ball Launchers
Handheld ball launchers are an excellent way to exercise your dog. Obviously, the further you can throw the ball the more your dog has to run.
They also make life easier for you as the long handle lets you pick up a ball without having to bend over to the ground. It also prevents you from having to touch a slobbery ball.
The best quality and well-known brand are the Chuckit. These are also extremely inexpensive and well worth having. Check out the Chuckit ball thrower on Amazon.
Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a flying disc requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Roll the Disc on the ground towards your dog. They will instinctually want to grab it in his mouth. Once you’ve accomplished this, try tossing it at a very low level first to your dog. If you feel like your Blue Heeler is ready to go to the next level, toss the disc a little higher and further. Great energy burner and you may be amazed at your dog’s agility and acrobatic skill.
View the Kong Flying Disc on Amazon
A Jolly Ball is a nearly indestructible ball for dogs that they push and chase around. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are also available with a handle or rope attached for tug of war. Check out the video to see what great exercise and fun they are for dogs.
View Jolly Balls on Amazon
A spring pole is simply a spring connected to a rope that hangs from a tree branch or beam with a lure or toy attached to the end. This allows your dog to play tug of war with him or herself even if you are not there. Popular with a lot of dogs that love a good game of tug of war.
These are great for building and strengthening your dog’s muscles. Muscle-strengthening exercise isn’t just for building bulk on a dog. All dogs can benefit from strong muscles as it helps to protect their joints and tendons preventing injury
View Spring Poles on Amazon
Recommended Dog Exercise Equipment to Gain Muscle
Muscle and strength-building exercises aren’t just for people wanting to bulk their dog up. All dogs can benefit from doing strength work to strengthen their muscles and protect joints and tendons. For more on gaining muscle on a dog see here.
A weight pulling harness is a piece of equipment that is designed for the physical training and muscle building of your dog by pulling weights. It is absolutely crucial that you use the correct harness for any weight pulling. The Harness is designed to distribute the weight evenly over your dog’s body. A good harness will distribute the weight evenly across the chest and shoulders avoiding unnecessary pressure on the throat and back
This is important to avoid too much of the weight going on certain parts of the body only which can lead to injury, either temporary or even long term.
A weighted vest is an excellent way to add resistance to your dog’s muscle building and exercise workouts tiring them quicker and working their muscles harder.
To further increase the resistance and improve the explosive power of your dog you can add a parachute to this vest.
View Parachute attachment on Amazon.
This is a great piece of exercise equipment to strengthen your dog’s neck muscle. The collar has 8 removable cast weights that weigh 1lb each. With the collar, it weighs approximately 9lbs. Fits neck sizes 24″ to 30″.
Stability balls are a very popular piece of exercise equipment for dogs. They work like a swiss ball that a human would use for exercise. There are quite a few different types but they work by having your dog stand of the apparatus using their muscles to stay balanced and stable. These are great for strengthening all the muscle groups and in particular the core. At first, you may need to support your dog holding them in place and as they get more practice and develop the necessary strength you can move away making the exercise harder for them.
Recommended Dog Exercise Equipment to burn energy
Set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard. You can use items you have around the home, build your own agility or you can get reasonably priced agility sets on Amazon. You can include tasks such as the weave, hurdle jumps, tunnels, or jumping through hoops or a platform to jump on and stay.
If you live in an area that has snow, Skijoring is a great way to give your dog exercise in the winter. Skijoring is a sport where a person on skis is pulled by a dog. This sport originated in Scandinavia and is a cross between cross country skiing and dog sledding.
Even if you don’t live near snow or during the off-season, you can still exercise this way by using roller skates or inline skates. The only equipment you need is a harness with a bungee line attached.
View Skijoring harness and bungee lines on Amazon.
Cycling with your dog is a great way to exercise your dog without having to walk. However, just using a dog leash can be dangerous. There is the potential for your dog to run in front of the bike or pull you off. With a bicycle exercise leash, your dog will be kept in a safe position to avoid accidents.
View Bicycle Exerciser Leash on Amazon.
Walking or running your dog on a treadmill is an excellent way to provide additional exercise or when the weather outside prevents going for a walk. Ideally, it is best to use a treadmill that is designed for dogs. The reason for this is that human treadmills have a shorter track and a dog can not get into their proper gate. The exception to this may be a small breed dog but for a large breed dog, it simply won’t suit.
View Dog Treadmills on Amazon.