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Why Playtime Is Vital for Dogs

Playing with your dog is not just a fun activity. It is also important for their health and well-being. In this post, our Powder Springs veterinary team discusses playtime for dogs and all of the benefits it can offer.

Doggie Playtime

Setting some time aside to interact and play with your dog can offer a variety of benefits. Dog playtime not only allows your companion to get the exercise they need to stay healthy, but it also offers mental benefits and can help your dog become more comfortable around people and even other dogs.

Below, our veterinary professionals share some of the advantages of regularly playing with your dog.

1. Exercise

The most obvious benefit of playing with your dog is the exercise they get. Running, jumping, prancing, and tugging are great ways for your furry friend to stay fit and strengthen their core muscles and joints, which is especially important as your pet ages.

As dogs get older, they become more susceptible to heart disease and increased blood pressure, making regular exercise a key component of their healthcare. Being overweight can be particularly risky for older dogs, so it's important to keep them active and at a healthy weight.

2. Bonding

Playtime is an excellent way to build a bond between you and your dog. While you're playing, you can focus on your relationship without distractions like work or other daily obligations.

Your dog will appreciate the attention and affection you provide, and it can be an especially great opportunity to get to know your new puppy or reaffirm your bond with your older dog. Remember, puppy playtime is free, so you should do your best to make the most of it.

3. Better Behavior

When dogs become bored, they tend to engage in mischievous behavior, which can give them a negative reputation for being "bad dogs." To maintain appropriate behavior, be sure to keep them occupied with regular play sessions and a variety of engaging toys.

Remember, even if your pet behaves in ways you don't like, it doesn't mean they are bad or doing it intentionally. Your new puppy or older dog can continue to exhibit good behavior by providing them with fun activities and positive reinforcement.

4. Mental Stimulation

Playtime allows dogs to learn and develop their brains. It is important to promote different styles of play in multiple environments, and with different playmates. This helps them maintain sharp reflexes, reaction times, and memories.

As puppies grow, their need for mental stimulation changes, but continuing to have regular playtime can help prevent cognitive decline in older dogs. If you're looking for some ideas, try buying a stimulating toy with hidden treats that pop out every once in a while, or a ball or toy with an unpredictable bounce to keep your dog excited and engaged. It provides a unique and enjoyable experience for your furry friend.

5. Socialization

Playtime with other dogs and/or humans is beneficial for dogs of all ages. This is because they learn their social skills by interacting with humans and other dogs outside their immediate family. 

Socialization is crucial for dogs, and isolating them can negatively impact their health and happiness. Taking play sessions at dog-friendly places can enhance playtime and overall well-being.

Differentiating Playtime From Aggression

Playing with dogs is fun and exciting, but it can easily cross a line and turn into more of a battle than a fun activity. While playing with your dog, it can be hard to interpret the snarls, growls, bared teeth, and body slams that characterize their behavior.

However, if both dogs are well-socialized, you can let their body language guide you. Reading their body language can help you decide whether to intervene and break up a wrestling match (between another dog or a human), or let them play because you know they aren't feeling threatened or behaving too aggressively. Here are some signs that your dog is indeed just playing:

  • The play bow
  • Heavy panting
  • Exposing their belly

Signs that a dog is behaving aggressively and isn't just playing around may include:

  • Rigid posture
  • Sharp, sudden, focused movements as if indicating attack moves
  • Deepening, intensifying growls that become louder
  • Hair standing up on the back of the neck
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you wondering how much time you should be playing with your dog or how much exercise they need? Contact our Powder Springs vet to book an exam for your pup. Our vet would be happy to provide you with a detailed exercise plan specific to your pup.

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Looking for a vet in Powder Springs? Our experienced vets at Powder Springs Animal Clinic are passionate about providing outstanding veterinary care to pets and great customer service to their proud owners. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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