Waking up with a headache, sore throat, and stuffy nose is no fun, and the last thing most people want to do when they’re feeling under the weather is take their dog out for some exercise. But your dog depends on you to provide them with mental and physical stimulation as well as bathroom breaks (unless you have a doggie door), and it’s up to you to find a way to give your dog those things even when you’re unwell. Here we’ll present some alternative ways to exercise your dog when you’re sick.
Note: Remember that forcing yourself to take your dog out for their regular exercise could make your illness worse. Consult your doctor if you are feeling out of sorts and you’re not sure how much activity is appropriate.
Indoor games are a great way to get your dog active when you’re feeling sick. Many games can even be played right from the comfort of your own bed. Here are some examples:
Laser Pointer Chase: Buy an inexpensive laser pointer and shine it back and forth across the floor. Your dog will delight in chasing the moving light, and will wear themselves out in the process. Remember not to shine the laser pointer into your dogs eyes as it could damage their retinas. Read these other tips for playing laser pointer chase for your dog without driving them crazy.
Indoor Fetch: If you have a long hallway or other large indoor space, you can play fetch indoors. You may even be able to play it from the sofa or your bed.
Tug-of-War: Another stimulating game that you can play while laid up is tug-of-war. Many dogs love to play this game with a rope toy, but remember that it can bring out your dog’s competitive side, and you should make sure that you have a solid relationship in which you are the pack leader before engaging in this type of game. Many trainers also recommend ending games of tug-of-war with you successfully winning the toy.
Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys require your dog to problem solve in order to release food or treats that you stuff inside. There are many different types of puzzle and food-dispensing toys, and a variety could occupy your dog for hours while you get some rest.
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Low-Impact Outdoor Exercises
If you’re feeling well enough to go outside but still not 100%, you can engage in some outdoor activities while still taking it easy.
Cut Your Walk in Half: If you usually take your dog for a half-hour walk, take them for a 15 minute walk instead. Choose an area with easy terrain (no hiking!) and a time of day when the weather won’t be unpleasant (e.g., in the summer, walk in the early morning or late evening to avoid high heat). Then, give your dog the rest of their exercise by playing some indoor games or offering them a puzzle toy.
Yard Fetch: Take your dog out to the yard and throw a ball or frisbee. If you’re tired, you could even play fetch while sitting in a lawn chair or reclining in a hammock. Ensure that your yard is secure and all gates are closed and locked so that you won’t have to worry about chasing after your dog when you’re feeling low.
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Ask For Help
If you’re really ill, you may not be able to exercise your dog at all. If this is the case, consider taking your dog to dog day care or a boarding facility while you recover. Alternatively, you could hire a dog walker to stop by once or twice a day to relieve you from your duties.
How do you exercise your dog when you’re sick? Leave a comment and let us know. And to keep your dog healthy, consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at PetPlus.com.