This myth concerning canine exercise is constantly perpetuated and easily believed: that dogs with access to a fenced in back yard get enough exercise. Veterinarians often see overweight and obese dogs whose owners claim they are getting plenty of exercise in the backyard—ironically, their physical state says otherwise.
Studies show that solitary dogs spend a lot of time resting—almost 80% of the time, actually. When other dogs are present, that time is reduced to about 60%. Without some form of encouragement, your dog will spend more than three quarters of the time not moving, no matter how large or entertaining your backyard is!
In the wild, dogs spend a great deal of time resting to conserve energy for hunting and other survival activities. Your dog also rests, but does not need to expend the energy to acquire food—herein lies the problem.
It is imperative that you ensure your dog is getting regular, adequate exercise whether they have access to a yard. Creating a physical activity that you and your canine can enjoy on a daily basis is ideal. It doesn’t have to be complex—a long walk, jog, or simply fetch for a bit can suffice.
When your pooch is getting enough exercise, it becomes easier for them to maintain a healthy bodyweight, which reduces the chance of health issues like arthritis. It also calms them down and leads to better behavior, as excess energy can inspire barking, chewing, and overall restlessness.
Like we always say, a dog is a lifetime commitment. Keeping your dog in good health should be just as important as doing the same for yourself. So get out there, put your dog on a leash and start walking yourselves to better health!