The Ultimate Guide To Pet Fitness For Cats And Dogs
Special Blog Post to Feeders Supply by Kristin Woodbury
We all know the importance of exercise when it comes to our health and general wellbeing. But did you know this is also true for our pets?
Exercising is not only good for their physical and mental health but plays a huge role in your pet’s behavioral development. Pets that aren’t given outlets to exercise or socialize can develop destructive behaviors like chewing, digging, and hyperactivity.
By doing regular exercise with your pets, you are helping to make your pets’ lives better as well as your own. With that in mind, here are some of our top pet health tips that will help you keep your cat or dog fit, healthy, and happy.
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How much exercise does your specific pet need?
Whether you have a dog or a cat, you need to assess their exercise needs and fitness level.
If you have an active dog (e.g. a Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, etc.) then they may require more exercise and therefore food than an average dog, so it’s a good idea to keep them on a feeding schedule. Small dogs or dogs with short snouts such as pugs often require less physical activity as the exertion makes it harder for them to breathe. In this case, a short walk around the block will be enough.
Top tip: As a general rule, you’ll know your dog needs exercise if they’re restless or pacing - and even engaging in naughty behaviors like digging up your favorite plants.
Most of us think of cats as a little lazy, however, at their heart cats are hunters and benefit from exercise as it helps hone their inborn skills. It’s also important to know that cats need physical activity to prevent health issues such as obesity and arthritis. Kittens will require more active time than older cats since they have more energy.
Before exercising a cat, consider what activities they most enjoy and turn that into a workout! This could be anything from having them chase a laser pointer, playing with jingly balls, chasing a toy mouse on a stick, or hiding their food bowl and letting them hunt for it. (They love this, promise.)
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How to exercise your pet
There are many ways you can exercise your pet that doesn’t necessarily mean having to leave the house. From walks to playtimes and even swimming, finding an exercise your dog or cat will enjoy will depend on their temperament and your daily lifestyle habits.
Fun ways to exercise your dog
The best way to exercise your dog is by walking them. You can start out slowly and build up to longer walks depending on how your dog is responding.
Walking your dog is also great for their social development, as they get to interact with other dogs and people. Tailoring your pet’s exercise to your lifestyle is another easy way to mix and match activities that fit in with your daily routine.
Some other ways to exercise your dog include the following:
Running off-leash: Make sure that you and your pet are in a safe environment before letting them off the lead. A dog park or large reserve is a great place for them to run freely and be stimulated by the sights and sounds. You can throw a frisbee or ball. (Please check with your local government about leash laws).
Swimming: Whether it’s at the beach or in a doggy paddle pool, swimming is a great way to exercise your dog and is one of the best ways to ensure your pet’s joints stay happy.
Playing with toys: Playing fetch in the backyard for 30 minutes or tug-of-war keeps your dog active and also provides mental stimulation.
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Fun ways to exercise your cat
When it comes to exercising cats, a good baseline is five minutes of playtime or interactive exercise twice a day.
The easiest way to achieve this is through toys and games. Fishing pole toys with dangling objects such as feathers or small balls can help your cat to exercise as well as provide mental stimulation.
Another way you can keep your cat active and remain stimulated is by giving them a puzzle toy that dispenses food or treats. Leave it around the house and your cat can hunt it when they’re hungry or bored. If your cat needs to lose weight, there is also cat food specifically designed for weight loss.
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Exercising your pet provides many health benefits. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with your pet. For puppies or kittens, regular playtime can even serve as a way for them to trust you and become more comfortable in their new home.
Make sure that you are also keeping your dog exercise ready by assessing their fitness levels, breed, and temperament. Remember, you don’t want to pressure your pet into doing an activity that is too strenuous.
Allow them to become accustomed to exercising, particularly if they aren’t used to physical activity. Your dog should be tired yet content after exercise. Exercising your pet will lead to a happy, healthier canine along with a happier, healthier human!