Village Animal Clinic

9044 Alternate A1A
North Palm Beach, FL 33403

(561)848-4349

villageac.com

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISING YOUR PET

 

While every dog breed requires different amounts of daily activity and exercise, there is one universal truth that crosses every breed class and size, and that is that some daily activity and exercise is essential to keeping your dogs physical and emotional health at an optimum level!

Lack of exercise will lead to obesity, poor muscle tone, heart problems; bone and joint disorders and will often result in emotional problems, boredom barking, destructive behavior, and anxiety.

A properly exercised dog will sleep better, suffer from left anxiety when left alone, will be less aggressive, and will be generally happier and more content.

You understand that exercise is good for you helping you to maintain a healthy weight, keep your muscles and joints flexible and helping you live longer and feel better. For all the same reasons, your pets need to get exercise too. Not only can exercise extend your pets lives; it may also expend some of their nervous energy and make them a little less likely to chew on the furniture.

Without you to lead the way, you’re pet is not going to run laps or do 50 sit-ups. So, as a pet owner, part of your responsibility is to ensure your pets get safe, enjoyable exercise on a regular basis. All pets need some physical activity to help them live a happy, healthy life.

Different pets require different amounts of exercise, so it may be best to have a chat with your vet before determining the correct level for your pets exercise.

 

Dogs

Dogs can be great fun to exercise as they can get you out and about yourself. After your vet gives your dog a clean bill of health, start your pet on suitable exercise for beginners.

Just like people who aren’t used to exercise, dogs should start off slow. Moderately paced walking and swimming are a good way to start – then let your pet build their cardiovascular and muscle strength without putting undue stress on their joints. A daily 10-15 minute walking or swimming session is a good start and you can build to an hour a day if your pet seems up to it. If, after a few months your pet can handle long, fast walks without fatigue, he could graduate to jogging with you.

Make sure that you watch out for the following:

  • Keep a close eye on your dog: watch for any unusual signs of fatigue or trouble breathing. If your pet wants to stop, let them. Dogs that overdo it can suffer strained tendons or ligaments or other orthopedic problems.
  • Safety first–keep your dog on a lead when you run. Even the best-trained dogs can run into the path of a car. And if you have to run when it’s dark out, put reflectors on your dog’s collar as well as on your clothes.
  • Try to run on dirt paths or grass as much as possible. Gravel, concrete, asphalt, cinders and road salt can irritate your pet’s paws.
  • If it’s freezing cold or hot and steamy out, either keep your run short or play a little indoor fetch instead.
  • The more active your dog is, the more water he will require. Make sure your pet has enough fresh water before and after your run. If you’re going for a long run, take some water along for both you and him.

 

Cats

Cats are a little bit different than dogs, they’re designed for short, frequent periods of intense activity, rather than longer, slower-paced exercise sessions.

There are wide selection of toys you can buy to get your cat active, including “kitty trees” that will let your pet climb to the ceiling and mechanical animals that can be chased around the room. There are a few main ways you can entice your pet into activity:

  • Things that can be hit. Anything light that moves easily across the floor can give your cat a chance to practice hitting and chasing. Balled up paper works well. Just make sure that she’s not batting anything she could chew up or swallow.
  • Things that can be chased. The end of a moving string should bring out the predator in even the most sedentary cat. Again, just make sure you pet doesn’t swallow the string. Things that can be climbed into. Empty boxes and paper bags are perfect for this. Remember plastic bags could cause suffocation.  Things that can be scratched. Scratching stretches and tones the muscles in your cat’s shoulders and back. A scratching post–or even a piece of cardboard or carpet–can keep your pet active without your furniture taking the brunt.

Don’t use your hand or fingers as “bait” or as the object of teasing. This teaches your pet that it is all right to scratch and bite your hands.

Some cats can even be trained to walk outside on a leash