For long life and good health, pets need exercise and activity as much as people do. As many people struggle to do their exercise routines, they don't realize their pets need their help to get the right amount of activity.
The good news is that people can use some simple techniques to work in more healthy exercise for their pets.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to exercise for a pet. Dogs with lots of energy need much more intense workouts than dogs with lower energy. Exercise needs also change with age. While puppies do have a lot of energy, their bodies are still developing. A long, strenuous walk for a pup isn't as effective as shorter, more frequent play sessions.
Pets have personalities much as people do. Some pets are more mellow and go-with-the-flow, while others have lots of energy and need lots of attention. A little observation can show a pet owner when their pet is in the mood to move.
Often pets mirror their owners. If owners are sedentary, then often their pets become sedentary. The key is for an owner to find ways to stay motivated. Many pets thrive on routine, and it's a great way to reinforce the habit for the owner.
Owners can set aside a specific time each day to play with or walk with their pets. By watching their pets, owners can identify when their pets are naturally more active. Those are great times to engage in play or go for outside time. Cats are often involved in the early morning and around sundown. Dogs often mirror their owners' energy as it rises and falls throughout the day.
The best kind of exercise will vary from one pet to another. A senior dog may struggle with high-intensity running and jumping, as these activities are strenuous on older joints. For pets with certain health conditions, swimming could be a great option. Throwing a toy or playing tug is a fun way to engage a pet who might not be too excited about exercising.
Cats don't typically walk on leashes or run long distances with their owners, so exercise for them may look different. Cat towers, crinkly toys, and even laser pointers are great ways to get a kitten or cat to move. Cats can also get bored quickly. New toys can help, as well as letting them get or 'kill' the toy.
It's not impossible to teach a cat to walk on a leash the same way a dog does, but it may take a lot of time and patience to coax them along. Experts recommend getting the cat used to the leash and then begin with short trips outside.
Not only will pets stay healthier longer, but owners find they grow closer with their pets when they exercise with them regularly. Exercise is a winner because they'll enjoy better health, and owners will enjoy being with their pets longer—and with lower vet bills, too.
At any age or in any medical condition, there are good exercises owners can do with their pets. If you're not sure what is best, the expert staff at Santa Monica Pet Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, can help. To get your pet a thorough checkup and develop a healthy exercise plan, call (310) 393-8218 for an appointment today.