Caitlin UltimoHealth / Pet Fitness

Activities to Keep Apartment Dogs in Shape

Like humans, pets need regular exercise to live to their fullest potential, and apartment dogs are no exception. If you find yourself wondering how to keep your indoor dogs in shape and active in your smaller living space, look no further.

In addition to a variety of indoor games for dogs to play, there are quick and easy things to do around town that will keep your apartment dogs mentally and physically stimulated. Consider adding these to your usual routine to keep your dogs healthy, happy and in shape.

Easy Indoor Activities for Apartment Dogs

For those days or seasons when it’s more difficult to get outdoors for long periods of time, there are plenty of indoor products and activities that will tire your pets out, both mentally and physically.

“Mental stimulation is much more tiring than physical,” says Dr. Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, chief of the behavior medicine division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia.

She compares it to how people typically feel after working out versus doing taxes. After a workout, you feel energized; once you complete your taxes, however, you feel exhausted.

Popular games for dogs to play indoors include using “feeder toys for all meals, clicker training, nose work games or playing indoor fetch,” Dr. Pike says. The best part about mentally stimulating toys or games is that it doesn’t matter how big or small your living space is.

You also can combine mental and physical exercise by setting up an indoor agility course for your pooch. For example, the Outward Hound zip and zoom indoor agility kit includes weave poles, a high jump and a tunnel.

For those days when you are not moving at the same speed as your excited, energized pups, there are toys that talk and toss for you. Automatic ball launchers like, the iFetch mini automatic ball launcher, let you program how many feet to toss the ball to work in your indoor space. You also can find babble toys like, the Pet Qwerks animal babble ball, designed to entertain dogs with a variety of animal sounds.

Easy Outside Activities for Apartment Dogs

The truth is, when you decide to add dogs to your family, you’ve committed to taking them outdoors to get the physical exercise they need to stay healthy and in shape. In an apartment living space, it’s essential to get out in large outdoor areas so your dogs can really run.

So, how much exercise does a dog need? Since a dog’s breed, age and health all factor into it, there’s no definite answer. Aim to get your indoor dogs at least 30 minutes of outdoor physical activity a day, but talk to your vet about your dog’s individual needs.

A simple way to achieve this is by heading to an open field for a game of fetch. You can really step up your fetch game by using specially designed toys, like the Nerf dog tennis ball blaster, which launches the ball 50 feet in the air.

Doggy Daycare or Dog Walking Services

While you’re away, your dogs still can play! For those weeks when you can’t get outside with your pups, take advantage of dog-friendly services like doggy daycare and dog walking. This ensures your apartment dogs still go on their much-needed outdoor adventures and keeps up their overall health and well-being.

“Daycare and dog parks are great for social butterflies,” Dr. Pike says.

If you can’t head to the dog park, bring your indoor dogs to daycare for the day. When you pick them up, they should be well exercised and ready to relax.

While doggy daycare and dog parks are great for social butterflies, they can be “too stressful for dogs that aren’t appropriately socialized to other dogs or for those who get stressed or overwhelmed in these scenarios,” Dr. Pike says. If this is the case for your four-legged friends, you can hire a trusted dog walker to take your dog for a solo walk during the day.

Dog Training Classes

Dog training classes don’t have to stop once your dogs are no longer puppies.

“Training classes taken in the evenings or on weekends can be some of the best and most tiring activities for dogs and a great bonding experience,” Dr. Pike says. “Take a nose-work class, an agility class or advanced obedience and trick classes. Dogs can enjoy training classes all throughout their lives.”

Apartment dogs needn’t feel cooped up. You easily can provide them with a variety of stimulating dog toys and take them outdoors for fresh air and extra exercise. With these tips and tricks, you’ll know exactly how to help your pooches stay healthy, happy and in the best shape of their lives.

 



Lindsay Schencker, Pet Central Associate Editor
The moment Lindsay started her career here at Chewy, she hit the ground running in customer service; she knew that this is the company she wanted to grow with from then on. When Lindsay isn’t spending her time writing for Pet Central, she’s most likely binge-watching a Netflix series and cuddling up with her 80-pound fur baby, Dexter.

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