Exercise is vital for the physical and mental health of any pet. It can improve the quality of life of the pet and can even extend their life span.
A proper exercise plan requires more than just an occasional walk. It requires an effort to make an exercise schedule and the discipline to follow it regularly.
An adult poodle requires at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day to keep it healthy. For puppies, a good rule of thumb is to have 5 minutes of exercise for each month of age, with a maximum of 60 minutes in a day.
Why is exercise important?
Similar to humans, pets require exercise to keep healthy. A poodle is a moderate to high energy dog, so it does burn a significant amount of calories throughout the day but a poodle still requires additional exercise time to achieve full benefits.
Exercise helps in keeping good muscle tone, which is great for the support of joints and the prevention of injury. The blood circulation is improved through exercise. Regular exercise also helps reduce the chances of diabetes or heart diseases. It also helps keep fat levels low.
Another benefit to exercise for poodles is that helps with their digestion and stimulates regular urination which reduces the chances of UTI (urinary tract infection).
Apart from physical health, there are benefits of exercise to mental health of the poodle. Exercise helps calm the poodle by releasing built-up energy.
The calmness allows to a poodle to be well-behaved and less aggressive or irritable. The key to the mental health benefits of exercise to do it regularly.
There needs to be a schedule of exercise, so the poodle gets into a habit of exercise during that time. Once they develop a habit, they would look forward to exercising.
The sleeping pattern of the poodle can be improved through exercise. It’s not just about the duration of the sleep but the quality of sleep. With exercise, the poodle will get more deep sleep, which is beneficial for several systems of the body.
There could be a social benefit to exercising. If the exercising routine involves being in contact with other pets, the poodle will learn how to be with other pets.
Poodle owners often complain about poodle not being very social. Exercise can be one way to solve this problem.
What type of exercise is best?
The type of exercise is going to depend on the age of the poodle and few other factors. In any case, you should look for an exercise that is low impact.
This ensures that there is a reduced chance of injury. Low impact exercises are not only better to prevent accidental injuries but it can also prevent injuries caused by repetitive movements that put extra stress on the body.
Any exercise that requires excessive jumping or running too fast for long intervals is considered a high impact exercise.
A typical characteristic of an ideal exercise is one that is adjustable so you can gradually build the stamina of the poodle.
As the poodle develops more stamina, you can increase the difficulty to achieve the same level of exercise. Lastly, try to pick an exercise that is easy to do and is something that the poodle will enjoy doing.
Duration of exercise for a poodle
A general rule of thumb for puppies has been mentioned earlier. 5 minutes of exercise for each month of age until the puppy reaches a maximum of 60 minutes in a day.
A great way to exercise puppies is short bouts of outdoor walking.
Overtraining can be bad for a poodle of any age but is particularly dangerous for puppies as their bodies are still developing and stress on the body could limit their growth or cause injury.
So with puppies, you are going to have balance exercise and rest with a lot more caution.
Also, young puppies can take some time to develop balance when walking, you want to gradually increase the difficulty of the exercise.
Poodles reach adulthood around 1 year for toy poodles and 2 years for standard poodles. It recommended that you allow between 30-60 minutes of exercise every day for adult poodles.
If your schedule allows for it, you should spit up the 60 minutes exercise sessions to two 30 min sessions twice a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.
This helps distribute the benefits of exercise throughout the day and keep the exercise short and fun for the poodle.
For senior poodles, you still need to make sure they get some exercise every day. For healthy senior dogs, you should continue with the same duration and difficulty of exercise but keep a close eye on the poodle to make sure they are not in any discomfort while exercising.
Poodles can suffer from osteoarthritis, so make sure the exercise is easy on the bones and joints.
Any duration or difficulty of exercise will have to be reduced or modified if the poodle has any health exceptions. If there are any health concerns, you would have to talk to a vet to design an exercise program suited to your poodle’s need.
They might be able to provide certain instructions that could be beneficial for your poodle. For pregnant poodles that are healthy, moderate exercise until the last week of pregnancy is acceptable and good for the health of the poodle.
About the difficulty of the exercise, that is going to depend on the exercise and size and health of the poodle. It is recommended that you discuss the exercise program with a vet regardless of any health concerns.
Overcoming common obstacles for exercising
Deciding that you want to have your poodle exercise and being able to make your poodle exercise, could be two very different things. Initially, it can be challenging to get a poodle to start exercising.
One of the most common complaints is that when a poodle is taken outdoors for a walk they can start to bark uncontrollably. This behavior does not mean that they are misbehaving, poodles are generally very curious and tend to be excited when they see new things.
The way to overcome this challenge is by providing regular exposure to a poodle. After a short while, the poodle will get used to walking outdoors and will not bark that much. All the poodle requires is some acclimation to the outside world.
Another obstacle to exercising is weather conditions. Hot and cold weather have their unique challenges. In hot weather, try to avoid the hottest time of the day, which typically is in the afternoon.
The poodle is susceptible to sunburn on the nose, so you can apply some nose balm. Also watch out for hot pavements, the underneath of the paws is a sensitive area for poodles and they can easily get burnt from the hot surface. Keep the poodle hydrated and take frequent breaks.
Some of the same tips apply to cold weather too. You should protect the nose and the paws of the poodle from the cold temperature.
Make sure they are appropriately dressed for cold so the poodle can keep its body temperature warm. Exercising will naturally help warm up the poodle in cold weather.
For extreme temperate, consider exercising indoors. It might be a compromise from a nice outdoor brisk walk but don’t let the weather be an excuse to skip exercise.
If you have some space indoors, you can make some fun games that involve some rigorous physical activity for poodles. As long as the heart rate is elevated for a decent interval of time, it is a good enough exercise.
Another common obstacle for exercising is not finding enough time. You can try to combine cardio sessions for yourself and your poodle into the same session. At the end of the day, making time for exercise depends on how important it is to you. It is worth it for you, you will find time for it.
General tips for exercising your poodle
You must make a schedule for the exercise. That helps you consistency and trains your pet to develop a natural body rhythm for exercising at that time of the day.
You can take occasional breaks or change the type of exercise to keep things interesting and fun for yourself and the poodle. Don’t forget about harness when exercising. You should have the dog in the harness every time they are on the lease.
The harness helps distribute the weight across the body of the poodle. At times, the poodle associates exercise time with pee and poo time. Try to keep separate routines for each, so during exercise time, the poodle can focus on exercising on worry about finding a spot to pee or poo.
Lastly, don’t assume that your poodle is healthy and doesn’t need exercise. A healthy poodle needs to maintain its health and for that exercise can be extremely useful.