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Tips for Playing With Your Dog

February 15, 2019

Did you know that playing is great for dogs? Playing not only gives Fido a great workout, it also offers him beneficial mental stimulation. Plus, it will help strengthen his bond to you. However, it’s important to safety in mind when playing with your pet. In this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, a local veterinarian discusses doggy playtime.

Choose Suitable Games

Some dogs—especially large breeds—should not be encouraged to jump or stand on their back legs, as this is hard on their hips, and can contribute to or aggravate hip dysplasia. Others, such as brachycephalic dogs, lose their breath very easily, and will be exhausted after even a brief game of Fetch . Ask your vet for specific advice.

Watch For Signs of Aggression

It’s important to remember that dogs act according to instinct. Keep your pup’s personality in mind during playtime. Children’s games, such as Tag, can be very fun for dogs. However, Fido sometimes gets a little too involved. Herding breeds, for instance, may instinctively nip or bite as they try to ‘corral’ their humans. Other pooches—especially puppies—get possessive with their playthings, and may become defensive while playing games like Tug O War.

Supervise Children

Some dogs are incredibly tolerant of clumsy toddlers. Others? Not so much. If you have children, always supervise play sessions very carefully. Stop playtime immediately if either your child or your dog seems agitated. Young children can startle dogs by making loud noises, moving suddenly, or roughhousing. Have children play safer games, like tossing a ball for Fido, and teach them never to ‘fight’ pets for playthings.


Choose toys that are the right size for Fido. Your furry buddy could hurt himself on toys that are too big or too small for him! Also, inspect your pup’s playthings regularly. Discretely toss and replace anything that is worn out, ripped, or broken.

Super-Active Dogs

Does your dog have more energy than you do? Try playing games like Fetch. You can also get your playful pup an automated laser pointer or a mechanical ball launcher. That way, Fido gets his doggy workout in while you get to stay relatively still.

Please contact Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, if ever we can be of assistance. We offer great veterinary care!