In a day and age where obesity is such a concern for humans, we are also seeing a trend with pets. One of the best ways for both groups to beat the bulge is exercise.
Both cats and dogs can be great motivators and companions when it comes to establishing a routine that helps increase physical activity.
Many people say “What? Exercise with my cat?”. Yes! Exercise and play are just as important for felines as for canines! In this article on PetMD.com the author offers some great guidelines about how and why you should exercise your cat. In summary, activities help maintain a healthy body weight and keep the muscles toned (sound familiar?). Another benefit of participating in activities with our pet is that it helps us to bond. Take 5 – 10 minutes to pull a feather toy around the house and you’ll be amazed at how much better you both feel!
Some of our clients have even had cats that loved being on a harness and walking around the neighborhood. The smells and sites are as interesting to cats as dogs. We recommend you start by putting a harness on your cat for short periods each day and letting them wear it around the house. Once they seem relaxed with that then add a lightweight leash and let them drag it around for a bit. After a few days of this you can pick up the lead and step out the back door with your cat and see how they do. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Often we think “go for a walk” when thinking about our dogs and exercise, but there are many ways to get your dog and yourself moving, even if it’s not a good day for a walk! Tug of war, fetch and even a little gentle wrestling will encourage physical exercise for both parties, make you both “smile” and create bonding memories. Physical activity need not be a drag or boring routine. Get creative! Think outside the box (or get a box and play hide and seek!).
Here is another great article at PedMD on the benefits of exercising with your dog.
Do you have some fun ideas for exercising with your pets? Comment on this post so we can share with others!