Making sure your dog is getting enough exercise is critical to their health and well-being. As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog. And, as much as it is a cliche, it’s true. Overall, a dog that gets plenty of exercise is usually happier, more well-behaved, and healthier than a dog that does not get enough. Here are a few signs your dog isn’t getting enough exercise:
1. Your Dog is Gaining Weight
Gaining weight is normal when your puppy is growing and even as your dog ages. But, if they’re gaining too much weight, it can be one of the signs your dog isn’t getting enough exercise. There may also be other factors like a medical condition, too many treats, or portions that are too large.
But, ruling out some of these things, the likely culprit is usually not enough movement. In addition to adjusting portion sizes, one of the best ways to help overweight dogs get healthy is to make sure they’re moving and getting enough regular, consistent activity.
2. Your Dog is Destructive
Dogs that are destructive or that act out could be doing so due to poor training. But, a lot of the time, it’s because they’re bored and haven’t been getting enough exercise. One of the reasons dogs chew is that they’re bored.
Chewing on things they shouldn’t, getting into the trash, and other destructive behaviors are usually your dog’s way of dealing with excess energy or boredom. In some cases, especially if the chewing is frantic, it can be due to separation anxiety.
So, it’s important to rule that out. However, more exercise and structured time with your dog can help resolve some mild anxiety caused by not spending enough time with you or getting enough activity.
3. They Withdraw From You
Sometimes, when a dog doesn’t get enough exercise, they withdraw into themselves and pull away from you. It’s almost like they start turning into a couch potato and may become lethargic or listless. They may even lie down and curl up in the corner and ignore you like they are sulking.
Lethargy is one of the symptoms you should never ignore in your dog as it is common in a number of illnesses. Depression in dogs is one of them. Hypothyroidism is another. Pain and anxiety can also cause your dog to become withdrawn. It’s usually best to visit the vet and rule out more serious causes before assuming it’s due to not enough exercise.
4. Your Dog is Overactive
When a dog is not getting enough exercise, they may become withdrawn. At the same time, they may also become overactive. If there is nowhere for their excess energy to go, they may end up becoming too hyper. Sometimes, this results in “zoomies” that last much longer than normal.
This may show itself as a leash-trained dog that becomes difficult to control on walks or is too hyper even when they are outside. If your dog is overly active, hyper, or becomes way excited beyond normal when you pick up a leash or head to the door, they probably aren’t getting enough exercise. Excess energy could also cause a previously well-trained dog to stop responding to basic commands.
A dog with too much energy may also act out with annoying attention-seeking behavior. They could race throughout the house or pace incessantly. They may also show a lack of self-control when playing, which could result in rough play. All of these things can be signs your dog isn’t getting enough exercise.
5. Their Muscles and Joints are Stiff
A dog that is developing arthritis, is injured, or is dealing with another medical issue may have joints and muscles that are stiff and painful to move. If your dog is showing signs of immobility or stiff joints, visit the vet to rule out a medical condition.
A dog that does not get enough exercise and hasn’t had regular exercise in a while can also develop stiff joints and muscles. They may avoid stairs, show a reluctance for jumping on and off furniture, have difficulty sleeping, or show other signs of pain or immobility. Not only does this affect your dog’s overall flexibility and movement, but it also increases the chance of injury.
You should visit the vet regardless in this case. First, you can rule out more serious medical conditions. Second, you can work with your vet to ease your dog back into exercise and work them back up to a regular exercise routine without injury.
6. Your Dog Doesn’t Have Any Stamina
If your dog doesn’t have any stamina or endurance, they may not be getting enough exercise. A lot of dogs, and people, don’t get as much exercise in the winter, which often results in a need to ease back into exercise and rebuild stamina when the temperatures warm up.
If your dog is not getting enough exercise, they may have stamina and endurance issues. A lot of other factors can affect a dog’s endurance, stamina, and overall athletic ability, so make sure you rule out medical conditions, injuries, and other potential explanations. If it’s simply a lack of exercise that is the problem, you can work with your dog to get back on track and rebuild their stamina and endurance over time.
For some dogs, like flat-faced or snub-nosed dogs, a lack of stamina can be normal as these dogs tend to overheat quickly and have trouble breathing. For these dogs, regular exercise is important. But, you also need to be careful whenever you jump into more exercise or a new activity.
7. They are Barking and Whining More Often
When your dog is barking and whining at you, they are trying to communicate something or they are just trying to get your attention. You don’t want to encourage excessive barking or whining, but you also don’t want to ignore what your dog is trying to tell you.
They may need to go potty, they may be hungry, they may need attention, or something else. They may also just be bored and trying to get your attention to entertain themselves and deal with their excess energy.
Making sure your dog gets enough exercise is one of the ways to keep your dog’s heart healthy and support their health long-term. If you see any of these signs your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, try to take a few more walks and spend more time with them playing to see if it helps. If any of these signs persist or your dog is showing other symptoms, it’s time to visit the vet because something else could be going on.