Curb obesity with exercise

By Valdette Muller| March 13, 2014 | Blog

Puppy jumping on the beachHaving a pet isn’t all tail wagging fun and cuddling on the couch at night. It is a big responsibility to ensure that your dog or cat is healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally. Unfortunately, many owners try to keep their pets happy, instead of healthy, by overfeeding them or simply providing them with the basic necessities. However, there is one thing that will satisfy your pet’s physical, mental and emotional needs – exercise!

Very often, pets get stuck doing the same routine over and over again. Although playing fetch, chasing a ball of wool or walking is great, any athlete will tell you that your body needs a variety of exercise in order to thrive. It’s time to take a fresh look at the type of exercise we’re submitting our pets to and up the game a little.

Exercise 101 – talk to your Vet

Dog selfie featureBefore you decide to swap the ball of wool for a 3 meter high play den for Kitty, you must consult your vet; especially if your pet is obese. You can do more harm than good if your pet isn’t healthy or have special needs. Certain dog breeds such as Pekingese (dogs with short faces) and Dachshunds (dogs with short legs and long backs) can’t participate in all kinds of exercise. Other breeds have certain preferences, such as Retrievers who love to swim, Bull Terriers who like to play tug of war and Jack Russell Terriers who go nuts about all of the above and more. 

If you have a cat, the same rule applies. Almost all cats benefit from some form of regular physical activity, but not all cats enjoy being active. Consult your Vet about your cat’s current condition and the kind of activities suitable for his or her needs.

 Exercise 102 – Get Moving

There are a number of activities to that will get your pet moving. Remember that a mix is better than just one kind of exercise all the time:

For Dogs 

  • Play fetch. Most dogs love to play this age-0ld game and it can be done indoors or outside.
  • Take your dog for a walk or jog. Remember to consider your dog’s breed, age and health before taking to the streets and burning a few calories with Butch.
  • Swimming is a great summer activity. It is not loved by all breeds, so first ‘test the waters’ to see whether your pet enjoys it or not. Never force your dog to swim as they could panic and drown.
  • If your pet is one of Nature’s super athletes, take them for a bike ride. It will burn all their stored up energy and get their bodies into great shape.
  • Tug of war is one of those games that dogs of all ages love to play. Be careful not to pull too hard or to jerk the object that you’re playing with from your pet’s mouth as it could cause injuries.
  • Command and Conquer. If your dog understands basic training commands, you can grab some treats and test your dog’s ability to do each command one after another. Be sure to change the routine in order to keep them on their toes.
  • Play hide and seek. This is a great activity to stimulate your dog’s senses and mind, but requires some basic training before the real fun begins. Here’s a great video on how to play hide and seek with your dog.

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 For Cats

  • Leave out a paper bag or cardboard box for them to play in. Cats love to play with things, in things. A tunnel or rolls of paper can provide hours of play and nap time for Kitty.
  • fun-kitty-twist-'n-treat-teaserLet your cat chase toys, balls, sticks with feathers or a flashlight. Remember to never shine the light directly into your cat’s eyes.
  • Stimulate their need to hunt with a fast moving or squeaking toy. Your cat may be easily bored when offered only one kind of toy, so be sure to have a variety at hand to keep them satisfied.
  • Stimulate their minds with an interactive toy like the Cat Treat Maze. Your cat has to work to get the Treat Maze in motion so that it wobbles, rocks and sometimes spins around in order for the treats to pass through a maze inside on both sides and then fall out through the openings on both top and bottom.
  • Encourage climbing with a cat tree, playhouse and other climbing toys. If your cat isn’t a fan of the great Outdoors they something a little more challenging than jumping onto the bed or couch.

When buying a toy or exercise activity for your pet, always read the label carefully as some toys may have small parts that could be a chocking hazard if left unattended.

Are there any other games or activities that you do with your pets? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

If you’re looking for a variety of pet products and interactive toys, visit  our online pet shop.

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