Exercising your pets? It depends…
Do you exercise on a regular basis? If you do, way to go! Physical fitness is essential for a long and healthy life, the same goes for exercising your pets. Even cats need exercise, especially now that obesity in domestic cats and dogs is on the rise. In a 2010 study on canine obesity, only 35% of dogs were considered to be “normal” weight. Of the remainder, 5% were underweight and a full 60% were classified as overweight or obese. The numbers for cats and humans are similar.” See the remarkable story of Skinny the 42 lb cat who lost… (more)
It is a common misconception that since many animals are built to run, they can jump right into it. However, just like us, dogs and cats need to work up to being fit, where to start depends on fitness level. Before exercising your pets, take a trip to the vet where body condition and overall health will be assessed. Getting a medical OK can rule out hidden underlying conditions that may cause problems later. For instance, pets suffer from arthritis, they have joint and muscle aches just like humans. Plus, if they carry extra weight, like the 60% of the subjects in that study, it puts additional strain on their joints. Unfortunately, animals are very good at hiding pain and discomfort, it’s a survival instinct. So even a short run with stiff muscles may be too much but Fido can’t verbalize that. Get a medical check up then find an exercise routine that fits your level starting slowly and advancing with improvement.
Hiking is a popular exercise people do with their dogs. It’s a fabulous way for both of you to stay in shape but there are some things to consider before setting off in that direction with your pup:
- Is my dog physically fit enough for the hike I’m planning?
- Does my dog consistently come when called?
- Will my dog do well on-leash if necessary?
- Checking your dog over once you’re back home.
With cooler weather on it’s way, you will be enjoying the outdoors exercising your pets. Let’s make the most of it for everyone’s benefit!
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