How to Exercise Your Dog When You're Sick



Waking up with a headache, sore throat, and stuffy nose is no fun, and the last thing most people want to do when theyโ€™re feeling under the weather is take their dog out for some exercise. But your dog depends on you to provide them with mental and physical stimulation as well as bathroom breaks (unless you have a

doggie door

), and itโ€™s up to you to find a way to give your dog those things even when youโ€™re unwell. Here weโ€™ll present some alternative ways to exercise your dog when youโ€™re sick.

Note: Remember that forcing yourself to take your dog out for their regular exercise could make your illness worse. Consult your doctor if you are feeling out of sorts and youโ€™re not sure how much activity is appropriate.

Indoor Games

Indoor games are a great way to get your dog active when youโ€™re feeling sick. Many games can even be played right from the comfort of your own bed. Here are some examples:

Laser Pointer Chase:

Buy an inexpensive laser pointer and shine it back and forth across the floor. Your dog will delight in chasing the moving light, and will wear themselves out in the process. Remember not to shine the laser pointer into your dogs eyes as it could damage their retinas. Read these other

tips for playing laser pointer chase for your dog without driving them crazy


Indoor Fetch:

If you have a long hallway or other large indoor space, you can play

fetch indoors. You may even be able to play it from the sofa or your bed.Tug-of-War: Another stimulating game that you can play while laid up is tug-of-war. Many dogs love to play this game with a rope toy

, but remember that it can bring out your dogโ€™s competitive side, and you should make sure that you have a solid relationship in which you are the

pack leader before engaging in this type of game. Many trainers

also recommend ending games of tug-of-war with you successfully winning the toy.

Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys

require your dog to problem solve in order to release food or treats that you stuff inside. There are many different types of




toys, and a variety could occupy your dog for hours while you get some rest.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

Low-Impact Outdoor Exercises

If youโ€™re feeling well enough to go outside but still not 100%, you can engage in some outdoor activities while still taking it easy.Cut Your Walk in Half: If you usually take your dog for a half-hour walk, take them for a 15 minute walk instead.ย Choose an area with easy terrain (no hiking

!) and a time of day when the weather wonโ€™t be unpleasant (e.g., in the

summer, walk in the early morning or late evening to avoid high heat

). Then, give your dog the rest of their exercise by playing some indoor games or offeringย them a puzzle toy.

Yard Fetch:

Take your dog out to the yard and throw a




. If youโ€™re tired, you could even play fetch while sitting in a lawn chair or reclining in a hammock. Ensure that your yard is secure and all gates are closed and locked so that you wonโ€™t have to worry about chasing after your dog when youโ€™re feeling low.

RELATED STORY: 3 Ways to Be Safer Walking a Dog at Night

Ask For Help

If youโ€™re really ill, you may not be able to exercise your dog at all. If this is the case, consider taking your dog to dog day care

or a

boarding facility

while you recover. Alternatively, you could hire a

dog walker

to stop by once or twice a day to relieve you from your duties.

How do you exercise your dog when youโ€™re sick? Leave a comment and let us know. And to keep your dog healthy, consider signing up forย PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


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