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Exercise for Your Companion Animal

Canine Exercise

The importance of exercise in our lives is undeniable and really cannot be understated.  This is no less true for our canine companions, too.

Leading experts recommend an hour or more of exercise every day for our four-legged best friends. Of course, the duration depends on several factors, including breed, size, age and state of health.

So what should be your guide in determining how much exercise they should have?  Let your dog help you decide.  Any new exercise routine is a discovery process.  Pay close attention to any potential signs of early fatigue, like panting or slowing down. 

Environmental factors, like excessive heat or cold, should definitely influence the duration of outdoor activities on any given day.  If you’re planning a hike or some other kind of day trip, be sure to bring along plenty of water for your dog, and provide several opportunities to drink.  Additionally, pay attention to your own feelings about exercise periods – in you feel like you’re spending too much time on an activity, and you become anxious about other items on your to-do list, your pet may not enjoy the time (and you might be less likely to commit to further activities in the future). 

Exercising with your dog is an important opportunity for you to bond with your companion, so make sure it’s fun for both of you.  Together, you can both enjoy a healthy new year.

Feline Exercise

Indoor cats, especially those who are the sole companion animal in a home, tend not to get adequate exercise.  So what can you do to ensure this necessary component of your cat’s life?  Here are just a handful of easy exercise tips:

Use a laser pointer and shine the light all around the room.  Be careful not to point the beam directly in the eyes.

Purchase a cat-toy fishing pole and attach something fun to tantalize your cat to begin an exciting chase throughout the house.

Walk or run up and down stairs, dragging a thick rope for your kitty to try and catch (this will get both of your hearts pumping). 

Make your cat work for his or her food.  Instead of putting a meal on one plate, put small amounts of food on several plates throughout the house.  This will require your cat to get some much needed exercise in order to eat.

When you first begin an exercise program with your cat, start with only five minutes of activity, and then subsequently add an extra minute or two to the routine.   Any of these activities, in combination with a healthy diet that’s low in carbohydrates, will help your cat shed some unwanted pounds.


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