Why Is Playtime Important to Your Pup’s Well-Being?
When people discuss a dog’s well-being, the first things that come to mind are providing them with ample food and exercise, as well as regular visits to the vet. While these are all vital to a pet’s overall health, many pet parents don’t realize that having enough playtime is just as important. Often, they see playing with their pup simply as a fun activity, but it’s actually worth more than that.
Playing with your beloved pup has significant benefits for them, particularly for their body, mind, and behavior. It also gives you an opportunity to build trust with your dog and strengthen your bond with them. If you want to learn more about the importance of playtime and the benefits it has on your dog’s health, read on.
It Keeps Your Pup’s Mind Healthy
Like humans, your canine companion can get bored too. If you combine the lack of activity with leaving your pup alone at home for long periods, it can result in a stressed and anxious dog. Avoid this by regularly engaging your dog in playtime, as the activity stimulates their brain and helps them stay calm. For example, playing interactive games such as fetch builds your pup’s focus and discipline as you repeatedly challenge them to follow and get the ball.
Playing with your dog also means getting the right kind of toys so that they’re fun and safe for your pooch.If you want to play fetch with your pup, for example, get customizable dog tennis balls according to your dog’s size. The ball must be small enough for your dog to easily carry but large enough that it won’t become a choking hazard. Look for a ball that extends beyond their jaws a bit and stays visible when your pup has it in their mouth.
It Promotes Exercise
Another reason playtime is important to your dog’s well-being is that it lets them stay physically active. While taking your dog for a walk is a good form of exercise, letting them run around and jump adds to the benefits of lubricating their joints and keeping organs healthy—which is good for dogs of all ages and breeds. Activity is even more valuable for larger breeds that need plenty of exercise, like German shepherds, collies, and retrievers. These breeds are known as high-energy dogs and may need other activities to supplement their daily walks so they can release all their energy. By giving them dedicated playtime, you can ensure that they have ample exercise.
It Keeps Older Dogs Stay Sharp
Although dogs of all ages can enjoy the mental health benefits of playtime, older canines can take the most advantage of it. When dogs play, it activates all their senses. They can practice tracking motions, sniffing out scents, and listening for certain noises. Your pup also gets to learn about different textures and work on their physical coordination when you play games with them. As a result, their brain continues to develop.
A dog’s playtime session can help you train your pet as well. The opportunity of playtime or accessing their favorite plush toy can serve as the reward your pup looks forward to at the end of the training. This can be a great alternative to giving treats, particularly if you are trying to prevent pet weight gain.
It Improves Their Behavior and Mood
Playtime affects your pup’s behavior and mood, too. When your dog is able to expend their energy, they feel fulfilled and are less likely to misbehave. As such, it’s important to give your pup enough playtime, especially if they belong to working dog breeds such as huskies and boxers. Apart from playing with toys together, you can teach your pup to find hidden treats. This type of activity isn’t just fun for them, but it also provides your dog with a sense of purpose. Accomplishing a task makes your pup feel proud and satisfied.
Additionally, playing with your dog and showering them with attention can help boost their mood. You can see it in the way your pet immediately starts wagging their tail the moment they see their toy. You may notice similar behavior when your pet sees you reaching for their dog leash or when you put on their step-in harness. They might become visibly excited and happy to be going on their walk.
It Allows You to Bond with Your Dog
Apart from keeping them healthy, playing with your dog can improve your relationship with them. Dedicating a fun time with your pup shows them that you care. Playtime also increases your dog’s trust and loyalty, as the activity allows them to relax in your company.
For example, playtime allows dogs to understand that tug-of-war is a game. They learn that they can bite and chew on the rope toy but that they should not play with your shoelaces or other household items. They also learn to understand that this sort of play aggression is acceptable but that biting and tugging on your clothes should not be done. Thus, playing with your dog establishes healthy boundaries for your relationship.
Playtime isn’t just a fun activity for your pup. It’s also an excellent opportunity to keep them healthy and strengthen your relationship with your pet. So be sure to invest in some high-quality toys and to spend a few minutes playing with your pet daily. Your dog’s wellness depends on it.