by Katherine Khoo March 17, 2023 6 min read

In an ideal situation, we would want to give our pooch a huge yard and plenty of room to roam. But, living in a city setting where apartment living is often the norm, most of us do not have a private backyard for our pooch to run around. If you are worried that your dog may not have adequate daily exercise living in small spaces, do not be. Millions of dogs around the globe have survived and thrived in urban areas. With some logistical considerations and creativity, there are lots of ways for you and your dog to stay active and fit.

Keeping Your Dog Fit in Singapore

Walking paths and community parks

Keeping a dog fit and healthy requires regular fresh air and exercise. Without the luxury of a spacious backyard, you’ll need to take a more proactive approach to keep your pups happy and healthy. We are blessed to be in Singapore, a city-state with plenty of parks and walking paths. Singapore’s Park Connector Network (PCN), an island-wide network of linear green corridors linking major parks and nature areas, provides plenty of walking paths for our pooches. Take your dogs for a walk or run. The PCN is a great place for getting in some quality exercise. Make sure he is trained to leash walk next to you and use a leash with adjustable length like this Loyal.D Multi-Purpose.D Yellow Dog Leash for better control.

If your dog has the physical ability to do so, you might even start training him to run alongside you as you bike! Be aware that running alongside a moving bicycle is hard work and is only suitable for dogs in good physical condition. Do not attempt to do this with a young puppy, senior or sick dog.

Playing fetch with your dog is another excellent way to keep him fit and healthy. You do need to teach your dog to fetch. Many people think this game is something dogs do naturally but this is not the case. Some dogs don't return the fetch toy. You’ll need to teach your dog to fetch and return the toy so you can keep the game going.

The dog run is a good place to exercise and socialise your pup. Some local parks have dog runs and if you happen to stay close to one, consider bringing your pup to the dog run. Do practice proper dog run etiquette and never leave your pup unsupervised in the dog run. Learn to recognise signs of anxiety and aggression. At any time, you notice these signs, intervene immediately.  

Keeping Your Dog Fit in Singapore


Swimming is an excellent physical activity for dogs, especially with senior dogs, obese dogs, and dogs with joint aches. It’s a low-impact exercise and is less intense on the dog’s muscles, joints, and ligaments. Swimming is also a form of physical therapy for dogs recovering from an injury.

Locally, public pools do not accept dogs because of the possibility of transmissible diseases from dogs to humans. In most cities, including Singapore, there are dog swimming pools around the city. These pools are generally only available for dogs to swim as their human companions stand to the side, encouraging them. Here’s a list of dog swimming pools around Singapore. This list is not exhaustive and there are many more around the island. Do take note that we are not affiliated with these businesses. Please do contact them directly if you require more information on their prices and services.

A lot of people believe that all dogs are born with the ability to swim instinctively. It can be a deadly misconception. Some breeds like retrievers are better swimmers than others. If your pup has never swum before, start in the shallow water where he can stand in the pool and slowly progress to the deep end. All dogs can benefit from a doggy life jacket when they’re near the water.   

Keeping Your Dog Fit in Singapore

Indoor treadmill

One method lots of city owners have had luck with is an indoor treadmill. Walking on a treadmill is not going to be a substitute for going for a walk, but it will provide exercise and some release of physical energy. You will need to get your dog accustomed to walking on the treadmill first and find a walking pace that he is comfortable with. Eventually, he will learn to enjoy it and look forward to using it. You will need to stay nearby and supervise for safety.  

Stair exercise

Living in an apartment means you will have access to stairs. Stair exercise is a great energy burner and muscle conditioning activity for both you and your pup. If your dog is trained to fetch, use a fetch toy to encourage him to use the stairs. Start at the bottom of the stairs and have your dog “stay”. Throw the fetch toy to the top of the stairs and get your dog to fetch the toy at the top of the stairs. Then, have him return down the stairs but at a slower pace, to avoid injury. If your dog is not trained to fetch, put on the leash, and walk up and down the stairs.

Do be careful if your pooch is a senior with arthritis. Climbing stairs isn’t always a bad thing for dogs with arthritis. In fact, it can be a great way to help improve the dog’s range of motion and muscle strength. However, for dogs with elbow and wrist (carpal) arthritis, climbing down the stairs can be problematic due to the painful or weakened front limbs. If the stairs are narrow, it can increase the risk of falls and injury. Also, for arthritic dogs or dogs with weakened limbs, it is best not to put the leash on the dog’s collar. Instead, use a body harness to avoid any neck injury should the dog slip and fall. It is recommended to use the Ruffwear Flagline™ Lightweight No-Pull Handled Harness with a comfortable lift-and-assist design to help your pup move along when he is scrambling up or down the stairs. With stair climbing, start at a pace that is comfortable for both you and your dog. You don’t want to start off running up and down the stairs when you are not used to that kind of exertion.  

Keeping Your Dog Fit in Singapore

Indoor dog obstacle course

This depends on how much space you have inside the apartment and the size of your dog. Build an inside obstacle course with furniture and items around the house. You can line up two rows of chairs back-to-back but leave enough space in the middle of the rows for your dog to safely run between the chairs. Drape a large blanket over the chairs so that it creates a dark tunnel for your dog to run through. Prepare a tasty and healthy training treat at the other end of the tunnel to encourage your dog to run through it.

Use a small stool or stack some empty boxes as a hurdle. Be mindful of the size of your dog and the height of the hurdle. Teach your pup to clear the hurdle. If using a stool, you can teach your pup to jump onto the stool and then down the other side. The possibilities are endless, so get creative! Remember to change up the obstacle course occasionally to keep your dog from getting bored.  

Keeping Your Dog Fit in Singapore

In conclusion, it is entirely possible to raise fit, healthy, and happy dogs in the city. In most cities, community parks, walking trails, dog runs, and doggy pools are available to help you with the task of keeping your dog fit. Be resourceful. Check with your veterinarian and fellow dog parents to find out what’s available in your area and plan accordingly.  








Katherine Khoo
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.

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