Exercise is very important in helping your pet live a healthy and long life. You can also benefit from having routine exercise with your pet.
Benefits of exercise:
- Improves strength, fitness, flexibility and movement
- Increases energy levels
- Helps decrease stress and can help improve you and your pets mood
- Improves sleep
- Prevents boredom
- Decreases bad behavior
- Improves the bond between you and your pet
- Prevents obesity
The type and amount of exercise needed can differ greatly with breed, age and energy level. It is important to choose the right type of exercise for your pet with the help of your veterinarian. Low energy dogs like Bulldogs or dogs over seven years of age only need about 30 minutes of exercise a day, and this is usually in the form of slow, short walks or swimming. Medium-energy dogs, like German shepherds or Maltese terriers, need about 2 hours of exercise a day in the form of medium-paced walks or agility. High-energy dogs like Border collies or Dalmatians need about three hours of exercise a day.
Cats too need daily exercise. Setting aside 15-20 minutes a day will help keep your cat happy and healthy. Cats are nocturnal animals which means they are at their most active at night. Training them to exercise during the day will help you and your cat sleep at night. Cats enjoy exercise like stalking, pouncing, climbing and hiding that allows them to mimic the behavior of their wild counterparts.
It’s always important to exercise safely with your pet. Here are some important tips:
- Check with your veterinarian to choose which exercise is right for your pet
- Always get permission from a grown-up before exercising your pet
- Always keep your dog on a leash unless in an enclosed supervised area such as dog day care
- Check the path you walk your pet to ensure there are no hazards
- Do not tie the leash to your wrist
- Know exactly where your pet is at all times
- Do not exercise when the weather is too hot
- Bring water and a travel bowl for your pet
When pets don’t get enough exercise, they can become obese. This is one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats. Pets that are overweight can also become sick from other diseases. Your local veterinary hospital can give you advice on whether your pet is under, normal, or overweight. If your pet is overweight, it is important to exercise your pet only a little a day at the start to avoid injury.