The Importance of Exercise to Your Pet

We’re two weeks into the new year, and if you’re like many people, you’ve likely thought of changes you’d like to make in your life to do better in the year ahead. As a pet owner, maybe you’ve even thought of ways that you can enhance and enrich your pet’s life. If so, one of the best commitments you can make for your pet, (and one in which you’ll reap the benefits, too!) is exercise. Here are a few reasons why this is so important!

Help in the Prevention of Obesity

It’s clear to see that pet obesity has reached large segments of our pet population. This last October, we posted this to our Facebook page:

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With pet obesity having its own “day” named after it, we know that we should direct attention to the cause of the problem. By committing to a plan of daily exercise, you’ll help keep your pet’s weight at an appropriate level. At your pet’s next preventive care exam, ask us which type of activities will be best for your pet, based on age, breed and overall health conditions. Exercise may look different for each pet - for example, it’s pretty simple to put a leash on your dog and head outside around the block a few times. For our feline friends, having plenty of toys around, or even a laser light for then to chase may be a perfect way to take in some exercise. For those of us who share our home with a pocket pet, bird or other exotic species, there are very specific exercise regimens that will be of benefit - we can help you with activities appropriate for your pet's needs.

Mental Stimulation

When exercising, especially when venturing outside, there are plenty of opportunities for your pet to enrich his mind right in addition to the physical benefits to his or her body. With the potential for socialization with the other dogs on the stroll, plenty of critters to see (squirrels, birds, rabbits), and the abundance of new smells and sounds, your dog will benefit from a good deal of mental stimulation. This helps to burn mental energy, leaving less time for separation anxiety and the destructive behaviors that may coincide with it.

For cats, providing them opportunities to forage for their food makes meal time an enriching activity. Hunting feeders keep your cat physically active, while also meeting the need to hunt and prey. This leads both to a slimmer and better behaved feline companion!

Overall Wellness and Health

Just as in people, frequent exercise helps reduce the risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, diseases of the heart and kidneys, cancers, and respiratory conditions. Meanwhile, daily walks and exercise help keep your pet agile and limber. Even a twenty-thirty minute jaunt has health benefits which will ward off premature aging by helping to develop an overall state of fitness and wellness.

As you do venture out of doors, keep an eye on your pet to monitor them for tiring or signs of discomfort, particularly in our cold January temperatures. Additionally, if your pet has any medical conditions, you’ll want to modify an exercise routine specifically to your pet’s health needs and limitations.

Time With You

Of course the health benefits to your pet are important, but one of the most important rewards of exercise with your pet is the time you’ll share together. Not only do you help build your pet’s confidence and enhance the bond you share in spending time with them, but this time will contribute to BOTH of you in emotional and psychological ways.

We hope you have a fabulous start to your new year, and that it is one of health and wellness for both of you! Please don’t hesitate to contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you have additional questions about your pet's behavior or health.

Reference used in this article:
“5 Reasons Why Your Pet Should Be Your Workout Buddy.” Pet Health Network, www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/5-reasons-why-your-pet-should-be-your-workout-buddy.

 

Photo Credit: kzenon

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