Your dog “tells” you things all the time. He tells you he loves you when he excitedly greets you at the door after work. He tells you he’s hungry by whining near his food bowl before dinner. He tells you he needs to go outside by pacing near the door. But is he telling you he’s not getting enough exercise? There are plenty of signs your dog is exercise-starved, but you have to look for them. Here are six ways your dog may be trying to communicate to you that he needs more physical exertion.
1. He’s Getting Fat
Pudgy dogs are cute, but they aren’t healthy. If your dog is gaining weight, either slowly or a lot at once, he’s probably taking in more calories than he’s burning. Upping his exercise routine and moderating his diet could help him get back to a normal weight. Be sure to talk to your vet about any underlying issues that might be leading to weight gain, too.
2. He’s Destroying Everything
Particularly if your dog is an active breed like a Labrador or a Terrier, exercise is crucial for happiness. When they’re bored or anxious, some dogs lash out through destruction. Overturned trash can or thoroughly-chewed slippers? More exercise might help your dog get it “out of his system.”
3. He’s Looking Depressed
Dogs can get depressed, too! Just like humans, dogs release endorphins when they exercise, and those endorphins stimulate good, happy feelings. If your dog seems withdrawn, overly tired, or just a little more apathetic about everything than he used to, he might be low on physical activity.
4. He’s Restless During Sleep
With energy to burn, even “tired” dogs can become restless. If your dog can’t seem to sleep well - either during naps or during the night - he’s probably not getting enough of a work out during the day. A little exertion can help him (and everyone else!) sleep more soundly.
5. He’s Very Vocal
Some dogs will bark or whine to try and get their owner’s attention if they want to run and play. It’s smart: they know you hold the key to playtime! If your usually quiet dog is barking or whining more than usual, you might try giving him a few extra minutes of strenuous play time each day for a week to see if it helps.
6. He Plays Rough
If your dog plays too roughly, he might have so much excess energy he’s finding it difficult to control himself. Particularly if you have other pets or small kids, it’s important to exercise your dog fully so he can burn off some of that manic energy. Rough play, pulling, and any other intentionally aggressive behaviors could be a sign your pooch needs more stimulation. How much exercise does your dog need? It entirely depends on the dog! Factors like breed, size, age, and health play a big part in the role of exercise, but every dog is different. Some pups are content with two walks a day and others need at least 30 minutes of strenuous activity on top of several long walks. You’ll know when your dog is getting enough exercise because he’ll feel better, sleep better, and be a happier version of himself.