Fun with Fido: The Importance of Play for Dogs
For dogs, playing isn’t just about entertainment. In fact, there are many amazing mental and physical benefits to regular recreation.
If you’ve spent any amount of time with a puppy, you know they love to play. But, did you know that dogs are one of the very few mammal species that enjoys playing well into adulthood? Like humans, dogs need to engage in fun activities to help keep them both mentally and physically fit.
A 2018 study at Bristol University found that play is actually essential to our dogs well-being. Researchers discovered that dogs who don’t engage in regular playtime can suffer from a whole host of behavioral issues including anxiety, aggression, and stubborn disobedience.
In addition to providing pure entertainment, play benefits dogs in several ways:
- Physical Health: It’s no secret that physical exercise is important in fighting obesity and maintaining a healthy weight. Active play also improves balance and coordination, helps build strong muscles, and contributes to a healthy heart.
- Mental Health: While active play helps maintain physical health, having fun improves mental health, too. More than just exercise, play allows your dog to use his brain and his body, relieving boredom and keeping his mind sharp and focused.
- Behavior and Social Skills: Through play, dogs learn important behavioral and social skills, both from other dogs and from their human companions. While having fun, they’re learning basic rules of conduct and how to follow them. Plus, playtime is the perfect time to incorporate basic training with a captive and focused audience.
- Bonding: Although dogs can often entertain themselves with fun toys or games, taking a few minutes every day for some interactive fun with your dog will strengthen the bond between you. A fun game of fetch, a few rounds of tug-o-war, or a quick hide-and-seek session will be fun for you both and bring you closer.
You see, playtime isn’t just about beating boredom, it’s absolutely essential to overall physical, mental, and emotional health. Plan to make playing a regular part of your daily dog care routine and have FUN!
Article by Brandy A.