I have to say that I’ve been pretty healthy every since I started working with dogs on a daily basis, meaning I rarely find myself so depleted of energy that I can’t go for our usual morning walk. I think my immune system really has grown a lot stronger over the past five doggie years of my life.
However, while I haven’t been sick in over a year, I just brought back a cold accompanied by a “lovely” cough from my trip to Southern California. Ugh. And while I didn’t have the energy to go for a morning backpack walk with Missy, I managed to exercise her in a different way. Because let’s face it – I would have had one whiny puppy on my hands had she not gotten her morning exercise.
So! This post is for all the sick doggie pawrents of active K9s who find themselves unable to take their pups for their daily dose of exercise and who don’t have a partner/family member/friend to do it for them…
Hire A Dog Walker/Runner
This one is a no brainer. A professional dog walker/runner will give your dog the exercise he needs while following your instructions. A 30 minute backpack walk? Done. A 60 min run? You got it. A 2 hour hike? No problem.
Note that I emphasized the word professional. If you’re going to trust a stranger with your dog, ask for references and make sure they have pet sitting/dog walking liability insurance in place. It’s totally fine to ask to see their certificate of insurance, by the way. I carry mine on me at all times and I’m not offended if a new client asks to see it.
You may wonder how to go about finding a reliable professional dog walker? Fellow dog walker/blogger Lindsay from ThatMutt.com gives great advice on this topic in her blog post What To Consider Before Hiring A Pet Sitter. Just like me, Lindsay is the owner-operator of her very own dog walking business in Southern California (the latter is UNLIKE me…I’m in NC).
By the way, you should think about finding a dog walker before you get sick. That way, all you have to do is text/email/call when you’re actually sick, because let’s face it – you’re probably not going to have the energy to interview a dog walker in that condition.
You can search for dog walkers/pet sitters in your area by typing your zip code into Pet Sitter’s International Homepage.
I can’t even remember how many times I’ve received texts from regular dog walking clients letting me know they’d be home unexpectedly because they were sick…but to PLEASE still come by and exercise their pups because they just couldn’t.
Downside: You’ll obviously have to pay for this type of service.
Use Stairs/Tools Inside Your Home
Here’s how I exercised Missy that morning when I felt like crap – I grabbed a bag of our favorite air-dried treats from Real Pet Food and walked upstairs into our bonus room. I have a doggie tunnel in that room that I use on a regular basis for exercise and nose work.
Once upstairs I pulled the tunnel close to the staircase, sat down at the very top of the stairs, and had Missy run up & down. I get her to do that by breaking the treats into tiny pieces and throwing them down the stairs – she’s a slave to her stomach and immediately goes after them.
Every now & then I’d also throw a treat inside the tunnel so she’d have to go after it, and over the tunnel so she’d have to jump over it. We did that for about 30 minutes, at which point she was panting.
My voice was kind of fading, so I made it a point not to speak. This does more than just going easy on your throat because it’s also a great bonding exercise between you & your pup.
If you don’t have stairs inside your home, you could get your pup to jump up and down on couches/beds and throw a large handful of treats inside your living room (or whichever room, really) or yard. Having to sniff out food is a great mental exercise for our pups and will burn energy.
Use A Laser Pointer
Laser pointers are another great option to get your pooch to run around the house without you having to move around a whole lot. Heck, you could even do it from the comfort of your bed. Dogs who like to play fetch will typically be into it. Just give it a try and see how your pup reacts to it. I found a nice video on Instagram by koda_nosemohawk showing how it works 🙂
What is better than snow and better than a laser. . . . SNOW AND LASER COMBINED! #koda_nosemohawk #koda #gsd #gsddog #blackgsd #gsdmix #gsdmom #shilohshepherd #shilohmix #gsdofinstagram #gsdofig #gsdofigworld #gsdlove #mommasboy #mustlovedogs #petsofinstagram #germanshepherdsofinstagram #labmix #blackshepherd #blacklab #germanshepherd24 #cutiepixofig #GSD_feature #dogandlaser #snowday #laserchasing #laserchase
A video posted by Koda (@koda_nosemohawk) on
Throw A Ball
Definitely a no brainer if your pup is ball crazy. Get comfy on your bed, the couch, or sit on the floor wrapped up in a blanket and throw your pup’s ball.
Let Your Dog Go For A Swim
If you’re lucky enough to live right on the water or to have a pool on your property AND your dog is the definition of aquapup, you could just let them go for a swim. Of course you’ll still have to supervise, but you could do that while sitting or lounging close by.
Finding yourself depleted of energy does not necessarily mean that your dog’s energy level will go through the roof. They can still get a decent amount of exercise by applying some of the life hacks I mentioned – ranging from hiring a professional dog walker to throwing the ball or letting them run up and down stairs.
***Feel better soon!***
How do you exercise your active dog when you’re sick? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!
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