Participating in a sporting activity with your pet has its share of advantages. It allows us to forge ties and to have beautiful moments with him. In addition, what a great opportunity for you and him to exercise while having fun while burning calories.
An outing with your companion relieves daily stress just like yours. However, in order for these moments of complicity to be positive, your pet must have fun first. He will not appreciate stress or the feeling of pain. You and him must absolutely enjoy it!
Here are some tips to enrich the life and health of your pet through exercise.
Your dog, no matter how old he is, needs to exercise every day. While some breeds have special needs to satisfy and dogs slow down as they age, they still have to participate in daily physical activity. Without physical activity, your dog will be bored, frustrated and not at the peak of his health. Exercise strengthens muscles, helps the body and metabolism to function properly and engages the mind. Anyone who has had a dog that suffers from a lack of physical activity and mental stimulation will tell you that their pet will often turn to destructive behaviors – behaviors magically disappearing once the dog has started to go out everyday.
Physically, dogs also become obese if they do not burn enough calories. This is especially true if they are given a lot of treats to compensate for the lack of attention.
Too Much Exercise?
Because exercise needs are based on a dog’s age, race, size and overall health, your dog should be active between 30 minutes and two hours a day. Especially if it is a breed that belongs to hunting, working or breeding groups (for example, labradors, hunting dogs, collars and shepherds).
The requirements are not as easy to establish for all other dogs. Most are of mixed heritage, so their needs will be different depending on the race they come from. If your dog belongs to a short-nosed breed, such as a bulldog, it will not need much exercise every day. A relaxed walk through the neighborhood will be enough. Watch out for your companion’s cues. If he gets restless, he’s probably anxious to get out for a nice walk. If, on the other hand, he just hangs out, he may not need so much exercise. A short walk will satisfy him.
Less active or older dogs may have conditions that slow them down. Whether it is because of excess weight, pain in the joints and muscles, they still need activity to keep the body functioning as it should.
If you have concerns about whether your dog can take a long walk or whether you need to put in place an exercise plan for him, talk to your veterinarian. Start slowly if they are not used to being physically active and watch their response. Your companion should be tired, but not exhausted when he finishes his daily exercise.
Tips Before Starting An Exercise Program
Before starting an exercise program with your dog, be sure to consult your veterinarian for a health check. He can recommend an exercise plan adapted to the age, race and condition of your pet. Start slowly and progress by walking longer or practicing routines that seem appropriate to you. Also, schedule a warm-up and cool-down at the end of your session. A quiet walk in the park or around the block before exercise should be enough to warm up the muscles.
And remember that mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Don’t be afraid to try new running tracks with your dog, go to different dog parks in your area, or introduce new toys and games to your routine. More importantly, exercise with him every day, not just on weekends, even if it’s only for a short period of time. At the very least, dogs and humans can enjoy 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Just start, without putting pressure on you or your dog, and you’ll find that you’ll be looking forward to training with him.
Exercise With Your Cat, Not So Complicated
While it is true that cats have the advantage of having a high metabolism that works even when they are lounging (see lions in nature), they still need physical activity to prevent them from living sedentary and becoming obese.
Unlike dogs, cats cannot be harnessed on a leash and walked around the neighbourhood – well, some can, but their little feline must be trained from a very young age. With a little imagination, with some trial and error, you can find ways to encourage your cat to be more active. Playing with him can be a great way to encourage him. All it takes is a few creative ideas to keep him entertained and active!
Ten to fifteen minutes of activity a few times a day is enough for your cat. Young cats and kittens will usually take the initiative to play. They’ll probably want to keep playing long after you stop distracting them.
Older and overweight cats are a little more difficult to move. They may not have the stamina or interest to play long, but they should always enjoy short activities throughout the day. Start with a few minutes at a time, a few times a day. Once you have found something that arouses its interest, try different versions of this activity by gradually increasing the time you spend playing.