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The Importance of Play for Dogs

November 1, 2018
When it comes to your dog, it’s obvious why they love playing: it’s a whole lot of fun! Playtime can be great fun for dog owners, too. Did you know that play is also critical for your canine companion’s health and well-being? Learn more here from a Pickerington, OH vet.

Physical Exercise

Of course, a dog who is playing is getting great physical activity. Exercise on a daily basis is imperative for your four-legged companion’s good health! It helps burn off excess calories and reduce extra body fat, keeps the joints and tendons limber, and keeps the musculature toned. Exercise will help your dog feel and look their absolute best—go on walks through your neighborhood or have vigorous play sessions indoors with a favorite toy.

Improved Behavior

A dog who receives playtime and exercise on a daily basis will, in most cases, behave better than one who doesn’t get the same treatment. Dogs who receive regular playtime have an appropriate outlet for their energy, rather than having a lot of pent-up energy that gets released in ways you don’t to deal with (chewing, scratching, vocalizing loudly, aggressive behavior, escape attempts, etc.). While playing and exercising aren’t magical cure-alls for every dog’s behavior issues, it’s a great way to get started on the right paw!

Mind Stimulation

Another important benefit of regular playtime for dogs is the crucial mental stimulation it provides. Basically, your dog’s physical play doubles as exercise for the mind, keeping reflexes sharp and reaction times fast. A dog who rarely plays isn’t exercising their mind, and it’s easy for them to become sedentary and unhappy. Puzzle toys are a great choice for stimulating your dog mentally. Games are also effective; try playing tug-of-war with a rope toy, or a classic game of fetch in the backyard. You can even set up an obstacle course in your living room using cushions and pillows, then place treats throughout it to entice your dog into running through.

Bonding Opportunities

Last but not least, regular play offers the benefit of quality bonding time between dog and owner. Your dog is more than just a furry companion—they’re a member of the family, and spending time with them on a regular basis is important. Don’t underestimate the value of your dog’s friendship! Is your dog due for an examination? Schedule your next office visit by calling your Pickerington, OH vet clinic.