Everyone always talks about the importance of personal health by eating right and exercising, but what are you doing to keep your pets healthy? Regularly exercising your pet is just as important as exercise for you. Health benefits range widely, but include helping hip joints, reducing digestive problems, and keeping your dog and cat at a healthy weight, which decreases the likelihood of developing other health problems.
Exercise also helps control behavioral problems. Pets that are not given outlets for energy may develop destructive habits like chewing, scratching, or digging, be hyperactive, jump on people or start raiding your garbage bins. By doing daily activities with your pet you can prevent these behaviors from starting and keep your home a happier one.
Dogs and Exercise
- Breed – Certain types of breeds such as one with brachycephalic (short noses) like Boston Terriers, Pugs, and Shar Pei’s can have some difficulties breathing and may have a harder time with the heat, so may not be able to handle vigorous exercise.
- Age – Really young dogs, while they have lots of energy, are still growing so exercise like sustained running may be bad for their bones. Senior dogs, on the other hand, may need to start taking things slower and may not be able to handle activities like long jogs or hikes.
- Size – If your dog is currently overweight, starting exercise is excellent, but you should start out slow, giving your dog time to adjust to a little exercise at a time as they may find it difficult at first and are prone to overexertion in the beginning stages.
Your Cat and Exercise
Just like dogs, cats need to participate in regular exercise as well. Apart from causing behavioral issues, a lack of exercise can cause obesity in cats, which may lead to diabetes, arthritis, or breathing problems. Similar to dogs, it is also important to keep your cat’s age in consideration, as kittens will have more energy as compared to older cats and exercise will need to be adjusted accordingly. The key to cat exercise is finding an activity they enjoy, try using laser pointers, jingly balls, and stuffed mice on sticks to encourage their natural chase instinct or invest in a scratching post or cat trees, for independent exercise for your cat.
Exercise that Fits Your Lifestyle
A good way to ensure your dog gets regular exercise is to tailor their play time to your lifestyle. If you live a very active lifestyle, try taking your dog for early morning jogs, long walks, and any safe adventures you go on. If you prefer a more laidback lifestyle, try playing catch or ball with your dog, take them swimming, or try training games. You can also mix and match activities that fit your day to day schedule.
Most cat exercises will fit any lifestyle, and chances are you will enjoy yourself too, but given the right incentive whether from a climbing post or perhaps even another cat, they will exercise independently, if you are an owner with a busy schedule.
Dogs and cats love exercising and chances are you will love your healthy, happy pet even more.