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“Well hello there, new year. How are you? What do you mean I’m looking a little chubby? Hmm, I guess my pet is too. I think we’ve both had too many treats. We should probably get some exercise.”
Sound familiar? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Obesity is common in pets similar to how it is in people. Dogs and cats accumulate extra pounds not just from too much food, but also from a lack of activity. So while it’s a good idea to reexamine your pet’s diet, it’s also beneficial to make sure they get ample opportunity to exercise. Here are our best pet exercise tips!
Benefits of Exercise
Staying active doesn’t just ensure your pet is a lean mean machine. Exercise has other benefits too!
- Helps maintain strong bones, muscles and joints.
- Keeps pets entertained and happy.
- Burns excess energy that would otherwise lead to destructive habits such as chewing, whining, scratching and digging.
- Toys and Games
Exercise doesn’t have to be overly serious! Choose activities that make you and your pet happy! Go to any pet store and you’ll find a wide range of toys and games for cats and dogs. Start simple with games like fetch or chasing a laser pointer. The benefit of many toys and games is that you can rest while your pet does all the “work.” There are also toys that turn mealtime into funtime! Look for Kongs and other great food-dispensing games!
Don’t dismiss the great benefits of a good ol’ walk. In fact, just a stroll around the block is excellent exercise, a real mood-booster and a good opportunity for pets to go to the bathroom. Walking is great for humans and pets alike. According to the American Psychological Association, it’s surprisingly good for your body and mental health. And providing opportunities for pets to pee helps prevent urinary tract infections. Even some cats enjoy exploring the outdoors while on a leash. If you are walking in a dark area at night, consider clipping a bright LED to your pet’s collar or harness.
- Running and Hiking
If you have a large or high-energy pet, you might want to kick things up a notch with a run or hike. Hit the pavement if you have plenty of sidewalks in your neighborhood. Otherwise, you might want to find a local field or hiking trails. You can also look into whether or not nearby schools allow pets on their running tracks.
- Urban Herding, Agility Training and Other Classes
Plenty of obedience schools offer fun classes that keep dogs active. These classes include Urban herding, or Treibball, an indoor alternative to herding cows and sheep. Instead of herding animals, your dog moves around large yoga balls. Agility training is also fun. Your dog learns how to pass obstacles such as cones and ramps. Other available classes include scent workshops and pilates for pooches!
Try these pet exercise tips. Staying active is beneficial for you and your furry friend. It keeps bodies and minds healthy and helps the two of you bond. And it doesn’t have to be boring either! While a simple walk doesn’t hurt, try fun games and classes too!