16 Aug The Benefits of Regular Exercise for Your Pet
Pets are like little bundles of joy, spreading smiles and laughter in homes worldwide. With an abundance of energy, it is only natural that pets need an outlet that helps them expend this energy safely and healthily, and there is no better outlet than exercise. Depending on the kind of pet you have, exercise will take different forms; for instance, while dogs will need to be exercised outdoors and in parks, cats can be exercised indoors using certain toys like a yarn ball.
Here Are A Few Ways Exercise Benefits Your Pet:
It Helps Your Pet Stay Fit
Remember, while a few pounds on your own body won’t make a life-altering difference, the same amount can be harmful to your pet, causing a host of issues like obesity, respiratory issues, and bone/joint problems. Preventing obesity is relatively simple, provided your pet burns more calories than it consumes, and exercise is the simplest and easiest way of maintaining a pet’s good health while making it fun for everyone involved.
It Maintains Your Pet’s Health
Your pet’s health, much like your own, is not dictated simply by their weight. It is easy to say that exercise keeps an organism slim and in shape, but it does so much more than that internally. Exercise helps maintain a healthy circulatory system with better blood flow and lowered blood pressure. It promotes healthy digestion, meaning your pet won’t have to strain when relieving themselves. It helps build muscle mass and leads to a healthier skeletal system. Overall, the internal and external benefits of frequent exercise for your pet are nearly innumerable.
It Curbs Behavioural Problems
When a pet is bored or restrained for long periods in isolation, they lack an outlet for their energy. This boredom or pent-up energy can manifest itself as frustration or misbehaviour, such as chewing on furniture, digging, or constant/unprovoked barking and whining. Exercise gives pets a healthy outlet for this energy and makes them less likely to relieve their energy on household items like furniture.
It helps Boost Your Pets’ Mood
Pets are creatures of habit. When there is a significant change in their routine, diet, companionship, or environment, chances are they will take a little while to adjust. Change can also come in the form of pet travel to a new space or a new member joining the family, and since each animal will cope with these situations, there are precious few one-size-fits-all solutions one can prescribe except exercise. For dogs in particular, exercise (walks in particular) is a great way to break the low mood and enjoying the various new sights and smells is sure to lighten them up. If you have a cat, toys, puzzles, and socialization are things you can experiment with to see if they successfully uplift your pet’s mood.
Types of Exercises for Pets
Aside from the health benefits, exercising can also be a fun-filled time for all involved, provided you mix and match activities throughout the week. Here are a few types of exercises you can alternate between.
- Walking: Arguably the most ubiquitous and easy way of exercising, a walk will let your pet explore the sights and smells while also letting them spend their energy in a controlled manner. Normally, dogs will need at least 2 walks per day, but this recommended exercise period varies depending on breed, so consult your vet before making any changes to the duration of the walks.
- Running: The next step after walking, running is one of the best ways of burning off calories and energy. Do note that while all dogs will require a walk, not all dogs are suitable for consistent long-distance running (for example pugs). Since intense running for long periods is not suitable for every dog, start slow with frequent walking sessions, before transitioning to brisk walks/jogs and running.
- Swimming: While you may struggle to make a cat at home in a pool, most dogs will love swimming and splashing around. Swimming (or water therapy) is also prescribed for elderly and injured pets to help rehabilitate them and is great for their joints, heart, and lungs. Do try to look into other alternatives if your pet isn’t fond of the water though.
- Fetch: Fetch is a game which will teach your pet patience and concentration. A simple game by design, fetch is still engaging and can be played with both cats and dogs (though your cat may need to be taught how to play first).
To conclude, there are plenty of benefits that come with regularly exercising your pet. From keeping your pet healthy to boosting their mood, the plus points are nearly endless when it comes to exercising. Just make sure to start any routine gradually, make sure to adjust your exercise times according to your pet, and maintain this routine once established. Remember, healthy pets are made step-by-step, not in big jumps.