Signs Your Dog Needs to Start Working Out

At DhohOo, we believe the health of your pet should be a top priority. Our guides aim to inform owners about practices that will keep their pets healthy and happy.



4 min read

6 Signs your Dog Needs More Exercise 

Dogs are active animals that require a fair amount of exercise to stay healthy. Most owners understand the importance of taking their dogs for walks regularly. However, there’s a good chance that your pup still isn’t receiving enough exercise.

Here are some signs that your dog needs to start working out.

1. Excessive weight gain

Every dog owner has witnessed the excitement their pooch exhibits during meal times. This is a natural response to the sight and smell of food. However, if your canine has been punching above their weight in the eating category, they may put on a few more pounds than intended.

It’s not uncommon for household pets to be fed more than they require. After all, the temptation to give in to your pup’s begging and whining can be too great for some owners to resist. However, overfeeding your dog can lead to them gaining weight and developing health problems.

These health problems include heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Such conditions can reduce your pooch’s life expectancy, so it’s important that they receive enough exercise to balance out their high calorie intake.

Owners can determine if their dog is overweight by touching their chest. If you can feel your canine’s ribs without a thick layer of fat getting in the way, it’s a good sign that they are within healthy weight limits.

You can also look for physical features that indicate your pup is overweight. Obese dogs often have round waists that sag and swing when they move around.

If you are still unsure if your dog is overweight, you can take them to a vet. A professional can inform you if your dog’s weight is higher than it should be.

2. Destructive behavior

If your pooch engages in destructive behavior regularly, it could be a sign that they need more exercise. These destructive behaviors include chewing shoes and furniture, or defecating inside your house.

Some dogs engage in these behaviors when they get overly excited or bored. However, if such acts occur regularly, there may be something else driving their destructive habits.

If your dog doesn’t have underlying behavior issues such as separation anxiety or excessive fear, their destructive behavior could indicate that they need a healthy outlet for their energy.

3. Excessive barking

Excessive barking is another sign that your dog requires additional exercise. Barking is a natural practice that is used to get the attention of owners. However, if your once-quiet pup starts barking and whining more frequently, they may be trying to signal that they need more exercise.

If their barking is coupled with other activities such as running in circles or beckoning towards the front door, they may be eager to go outside and stretch their muscles.

4. Sleep problems

Adult dogs require 12 to 14 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period. This is usually broken down into 7 or 8 hours of sleep at night, and intermittent naps during the day.

If your dog is constantly changing sleeping positions throughout the night, or is getting up and walking around during night hours, they may be having trouble sleeping. An uncomfortable bed or a bed located in an unsuitable area could be preventing your dog from falling asleep. However, a lack of exercise can also trigger insomnia in canines.

To fix this problem, you should take your dog for a walk or run earlier in the day. Avoid taking them for exercise just before bed, as they are likely to drink water afterwards and will need to relieve themselves in the middle of the night.

5. Depression

Many household pets live sedentary lifestyles where they aren’t expected to move around much. These animals usually perk up and become more active as soon as you take them outdoors. If your dog doesn’t seem interested in running around and getting their heart rate pumping when they are at the park, they may be depressed.

While depression can cause dogs to lose interest in being active, the solution may actually be more exercise itself. One clever way to encourage your dog to get more exercise is to hide treats around your home. This gives your pup an incentive to move around and get their muscles working.

6. Rough play

Dogs can get very excited whenever they encounter another canine. It’s natural for your pooch to want to play with others, however, their behavior towards other dogs could indicate that they need more exercise.

Jumping, tugging, and nipping are all signs that your dog has excess energy that needs to be expended. Adding more exercise to their day should bring their energy down to a more manageable level.

Exercises for your dog

Once you are certain that your dog requires more exercise, you can start adding more activities to their daily routine. Some exercises for your dog are shown below.

Trail running

Trail running is a great exercise for both people and dogs. Your canine companion will love exploring the outdoors and getting some fresh air with you. Look for a quiet trail that isn’t too crowded and be sure to pack some dog treats.


You can play “tennis” with your dog by hitting a tennis ball with a racket and waiting for them to retrieve it. This activity doesn’t require much walking or running on the owner’s part, and can be played from the comfort of your porch or patio.


Playing frisbee is another high-energy exercise that your dog will love. Canines enjoy chasing frisbees and jumping to catch them while they are airborne. This sport gets their heart rate up and improves their agility.  Just be sure to find a wide open space where they are free to unleash their energy and push their limits.