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Why is playtime vital for dogs?

Playing with your dog is not just a fun activity. It is also important for their health and well-being. In this article, our veterinarians from Marina del Rey will discuss the many benefits playtime can bring to your puppy and adult dog.

1. Exercise

One of the most obvious benefits of playtime for dogs is exercise. Running, jumping, prancing, and tugging are great ways for your furry friend to stay fit. Playtime can also help strengthen core muscles and joints, which is especially important as your pet ages.

As dogs get older, they become more susceptible to heart disease and increased blood pressure, making regular exercise crucial to their health. Being overweight can be particularly risky for older dogs, so it's important to keep them active and at a healthy weight.

2. Bonding

Playing with your dog is an excellent way to build a strong bond between you and your furry friend. During playtime, you can focus on your relationship without distractions like work or other obligations.

Your dog will appreciate the attention and affection you provide, and it can be an excellent opportunity to get to know your new puppy or reaffirm your bond with your older dog.

3. Better Behavior

Dogs can become bored and engage in mischievous behavior, which can give them a negative reputation for being "bad dogs." To maintain good behavior in your pet, make sure to keep them occupied with regular play sessions and ample toys.

It is important to remember that even if your pet behaves in ways that you don't like, it doesn't mean they are bad. Your new puppy or older dog can continue to exhibit good behavior by providing them with fun activities and positive reinforcement.

4. Mental Stimulation

Playtime is a crucial time for dogs to learn and develop their brains. It is important to encourage different types of play in various environments and with different playmates, as it helps them maintain sharp reflexes, reaction times, and memories.

As puppies grow, their need for mental stimulation changes, but playing can help prevent cognitive decline in adult and senior dogs.

If you need some ideas, you can buy a stimulating toy with a hidden treat or unpredictable bounce to keep your dog excited and engaged. It provides a unique and enjoyable experience for your furry friend.

5. Socialization

Playtime with friends is beneficial for puppies and dogs. This is because they learn social skills and interact with humans and other dogs outside their immediate family. 

Socialization is crucial for dogs of all ages, and isolation can negatively impact their health and happiness. Taking play sessions at dog-friendly places can enhance playtime and overall well-being.

How to Tell Playtime From Aggression

Playing with dogs can be fun and exciting, but sometimes, their play sessions can become intense and lead to arguments. It can be challenging to interpret the snarls, growls, bared teeth, and body slams that characterize their behavior.

However, if both dogs are well-socialized, you can let their body language guide you and feel confident in deciding whether to intervene and break up the wrestling match. Here are some signs that your dog is indeed playing:

  • The play bow
  • Heavy panting
  • Exposing their belly

Finally, signs that a dog is behaving aggressively include:

    • Rigid posture
    • Sharp, sudden, focused movements as if indicating attack moves
    • Deepening, intensifying growls that become louder
    • Hair standing up on the back of the neck
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you looking to improve your dog's health with exercise? Please schedule an appointment with our veterinarians in Marina del Rey to learn how playtime can benefit your furry friend!

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Shane Veterinary Medical Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Marina del Rey companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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