Ash Veterinary Clinic


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Ways to Exercise With Your Pet

            It is estimated that nearly 35% of pets are overweight. That correlates with the numbers that 35% of Americans are overweight. Being overweight increases your pet’s risk for many serious conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, breathing problems and heart disease. In today’s society, people are pulled in so many directions that it is much easier to toss a treat to their pet than it is to find the time to walk them. To tell if your pet is overweight, look at him from above. Standing, your pet should have an indentation where his waist would be behind his ribs. You should also be able to feel your pet’s ribs. When a 15 pound animal is 5 pounds overweight, that is equal to you weighing 30% more than what you should. Here are some fun and easy tricks to get yourself and your pet up and moving.

            Walking is an essential part of your pet’s good health. A quick walk down to the end of the block and back isn’t enough activity. Many short walks may be the best for very young or very old dogs, but for other pets, longer strolls may be necessary.  A walk that increases your pet’s heart rate, about 15-20 minutes, will also increase his metabolism. If you do interval walking, where you switch from walking, running, jumping, etc. every few minutes, your dog will get excited because you’re always changing things up. You will also get a decent cardio workout from this, too.

            Another way to exercise your pet involves “teasing” them. Grab your pet’s favorite toy and get in sit-up position. As you do a sit-up, pretend to toss the toy as you reach the top. Your pet will chase after it, only to realize that you never threw it. Repeat as many times as it takes your dog to stop chasing and playing along. Another “tease” exercise that you can do involves squats. As you squat down, tap your dog with his favorite toy to get his attention. As you rise, lift the toy above your head and your pet should jump for it.

            Exercising with your dog is another way to bring out your inner child again. Playing tag with your dog gets you both an excellent cardio work out. Also, you can change up a game of fetch. When you throw the toy for your dog, see if you can beat them there. Wrestle the toy from their grasp and toss it again!

            Cats need exercise, too. Anyone who owns cats knows that getting them to move can be hard work. It may take a few “trial and error” sessions to see what works.  Most cats love any type of moving light. When doing sit-ups, hold a flashlight in your hand and move the beam back and forth as you reach the top of your motion. See how many repetitions you can get in before your cat gets bored. Another exercise for cats could be attaching a lighted object to your dumbbells. As you are curling your arms, your cat will go crazy trying to catch the moving light. If you’re lucky, some cats even like to play fetch. More than often, you will get the exercise by “fetching” the object that your cat has abandoned.

            There are a few cautions that you should follow when exercising with your pets. Remember that they can’t sweat, they pant to cool down. The best time to exercise outdoors is morning or evening when it’s not too hot. Dogs with short noses (Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs, etc.) have a harder time breathing, so they do best in cooler weather. Watch for signs of overheating or exhaustion. If your pooch pants excessively, his tongue or gums turn bright red or they get listless, stop exercising and seek veterinary care. These may be signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which is potentially fatal.

            Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Find whatever works for you and your pet. Always remember that your pet is having the best time because they are spending it with you.

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: