Exercise is about more than your pet’s waistline — it’s vital mental and physical stimulation that supports good behavior and the human-animal bond! Whether it’s a short yet brisk walk, a long hike, a cool swim, or a game of hide and seek, set aside a few minutes each day to get those four legs moving. Make sure your activity is appropriate for your pet’s breed and age, and keep in mind that prevention is key!
Staying active with your pet helps:
- prevent obesity
- support your pet’s cardiovascular health
- aid in the prevention of yard destruction, aggression, and anxiety
- build the bond between you and your pet.
We know you love your pets, but we also know you are busy – with work or family or all of the above. To help out, Loving Pets wants to help by offering some tips and ideas that will help you and your furry friend get moving and on the road to a healthier and fun lifestyle together:
- Running and Brisk Walking
Running and brisk walking offers you and your dog the ability to multitask — you and your pet get to enjoy the outdoors while increasing endorphins, improving your physique and strengthening important muscles. Running or walking fast is great, but don’t get in too much of a hurry. Remember to occasionally stop when the dog wants to stop to stimulate the pet’s socialization and brain activity through greeting other human or canine friends or sniff out a new bush or trail.
- Go Fetch!
Sometimes all that is needed to achieve your pet’s daily exercise fix can be a simple game of fetch with a toy, ball or frisbee. Whether in your yard or at your local dog park, fetch offers an interactive way to easily squeeze an activity into your busy schedule. If the weather is too cold or rainy, consider a modified game of fetch indoors with a soft plush toy from the comfort of your couch.
In many cities or parts of the country, dog owners have year-round access to dog-friendly beaches, lakes or pools, so look into local options and jump in! No matter if you’re human or canine, water-based exercise benefits not only those who are older or may have sore muscles or joint problems (such as arthritis) but also benefits pets and people of any age due to its low impact yet high calorie burn.
- “Doga” – Dog + Yoga
You may traditionally picture yogis as the 2-legged variety, but some of the country’s newest yoga converts are of the 4-legged barking variety. “Doga” (dog + yoga) offers a chance to connect with your pup by spending more time together plus stretch out tight muscles. Do a quick online search or contact your local kennel club or pet store to find out if doga classes are offered in your city.
Please note that exercise can be challenging for older dogs and brachycephalic breeds—the ones with short or flat noses, like bulldogs and pugs, but there are many exercises that can still keep your pet engaged mentally and physically at any life stage.
Remember, a tired pet is a good pet, so don’t be afraid to get moving!