Got a big dog? Check out these exercise and playtime suggestions!

By on November 27, 2018

We’ve got a growing list of contributors to Pets in Omaha and one of our latest submissions aims to get you and your big dogs up and moving! If you’ve got a larger-than-average canine, you know the challenges and medical conditions that your pup may be susceptible to. If not, read them below and see what you can do to get active and healthy with your dogs! Thanks to Shawn from FeedFond (bio below) for sharing this post!

Dogs, in general, are the best. Whether small or big, they are the best companions any man can have. You’ll never have a dull moment with a dog, as they’re always up to something!

If you have a large-breed dog then you’re already aware of their demeanor, big loving hearts, and unique personalities.

That being said, large-breed dog owners know that their dogs love playing outside and spend time with their owners.

If you’re wondering how you can make your outdoor activity both fun and beneficial for your dog and yourself, we’re going to be talking about just that.

But, before that, let’s talk about some important health issues that are common with large-breed dogs first.

Joint Issues And Bloat

It’s not uncommon for large-breed dogs to have joint issues.

It’s precisely why they need regular exercise. Maintaining their weight, making sure they’re eating healthy, and daily exercise will prevent joint issues.

That being said, large-breed puppies shouldn’t be subjected to regular exercises. Their bones are still growing to give support to their large structure.

Large-breed dogs are also susceptible to bloat. Bloat can be life threatening, if you see signs contact your vet right away. There are two types of this: gastric dilatation and volvulus.

Gastric dilatation causes the stomach to be filled up with fluid and gas. Volvulus makes the stomach circle around itself. Common symptoms are an enlarged abdomen, anxiety, pacing, salivation, and you’ll notice an enlarged abdomen.

If you see any of these symptoms, visit the vet. You should also visit the vet before getting into an exercise routine with your dog.

Let’s get down to the exercises that you can do with your dog!

  • The Good Old Walk

One of the most basic and easiest of activities to do is to walk your dog. Large-breeds like Great Danes just love a walk with their loving owners.

Just a stroll or a light jog does so much for both of you. The best part? You’re also bonding with your dog at the same time.

Don’t limit your walking routine to just the park or somewhere nearby, make it interesting! Explore your neighborhood, or plan a hike, look up different routes that go to the nearby park.

The possibilities to mix this basic exercise up are just endless. Remember to stop occasionally to let your dog take in the surrounding environment.

This is a great advantage for both of you to improve your mental stimulation, heart rates, and friendship!

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  • Games Will Keep Them Busy

We all play around with our dogs most of the times, right? It keeps them busy and you entertained. Let’s check the games you can play with your dog to keep them being more active.

  • Go Fetch!

This is an old and traditional game dog owners play with their dogs. However, instead of the classical way of playing fetch with your large buddy, put a little twist on it.

The next time you play fetch with your dog instead of just sitting around waiting for them to bring it to you, you race them to it. The new addition to this will definitely bring a more fun vibe to it.

Remember to not to play with sticks, it may cause accidents and give you both splinters. So, fetch and race them, see if you can win!

  • Tag! You’re It!

The infamous game of tag. Become a kid again and play this game with your dog. Dogs love chasing things, so this is just perfect. Let him chase you around and catch you.

You can also make your dog chase toys around. Wrap his toys to a stick and wave it around in front of him. The best part is that both of you will get a good workout of this fun playtime.

Your dog won’t feel lazy anymore, and neither will you.

  • Tug-of-War

Tug of war games can really benefit your dog. Their teeth will get an exercise to bite and grab something with their mouth. It’s also a fun activity to do with your furry friend.

The game can also enable you to teach them some valuable lessons. For instance, teaching them to grab and let go when you tell them to can be very useful.

Be careful, if they accidentally bite your skin then you should stop playing immediately to teach them to stop doing that.

  • Hide And Seek

This is a game I play a lot with my dog. He loves it and goes absolutely crazy looking for me! It’s a real treat to observe him.

The game of hide and seek has many benefits. For example, your dog can use their sense of smell to find you. They can also use their intelligence and stimulate their mind all at the same time.

Hide and seek can also teach respond to you when you call them by their name to come to you. The best part is that they’re going to love running to you.

Remember to let your dog win sometimes too!

  • An Obstacle Course

This is a pretty neat set up you can do in your backyard. All you need are some fitness steps, some household items and you’re good to go. You can also improvise by building it with other toys and courses of course.

Put your dog on a leash and start the course. Make sure you show him the ropes first. After that, your dog will follow and get a workout alongside you.

You’ll be spending time with each other playing and exercising, it’s a win-win situation for everybody. Do some research and look up some DIY courses online to help you with your own obstacle course!

  • Dog Park

The dog park – a place where your dog can mingle and goof around with other dogs. For this step to work properly you’ll need to make sure your dog is well trained in behavioral and socialization.

If not, it’s best to start right away because visiting the dog park will be amazing for you both. You can go with friends who have dogs or just go by yourself and your tyke to mingle with other dog owners.

Let your dog play around or you play with him, there are endless options. Just remember to keep an eye out to see if he’s getting tired. Large-breed dogs get tired too easily so if you see signs, it’s time to go home.

  • Swimming And Other Activities

Many large-breeds like the Newfoundland or Saint Bernard love to spend time in the water. They love to swim.

You can try this with your dog too. There are swimming sessions going on at your local pool or another pool just dedicated to dogs. Check those places out!

Other outdoor activities like running a 5k course or charity sports for dogs. You can participate with your dog too. It’s a great chance to meet new people. Your dog can have fun and get a good workout out of it.

So, keep your ears sharp for any such activities around your neighborhood!

  • Hiking

Another thing large-breed dogs love is the outdoors. I’m big on hiking and my dog loves it too. I make it a point to take him with me and it’s really helped us bond.

Exploring nature and hiking sound like a good idea to me. Pull out your gear and take your dog with you next time you go hiking.

They’ll definitely love it. Plan out a route so that you both can successfully finish. Pack enough water and essentials to keep both of you properly hydrated.

Pause here and there for a while to let your dog and yourself take in the nature around you. It’s a great way to bond with your tyke and also blow some steam off.

Final Thoughts

It’s not necessary that these exercises will work with all large-breed dogs. Every dog has their own tastes and uniqueness. It’s your job to figure out what your tyke likes the best.

The most general form of exercising is taking a regular walk, enough social interactions, and mental stimulation. As mentioned before, large-breed dogs get tired quickly. Give them ample amount of time to rest.

It’s important to remember to have fun and not stress out too much about this. So, try these exercises out and see if it works for you and your dog!

Author Bio:

Shawn is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s a doting father not only to his two children but also to his two Golden Retrievers. Check out more of his articles at

Image credit: Aubree Sweeney

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