Our pets are just like us. They need a good diet and regular exercise to feel their very best. Without exercise, pets can often fall into destructive habits like chewing, digging or scratching. They can also experience some digestive issues, which can lead to terrible behavior such as garbage raiding. If your pet is playing too rough, or acting out by barking and whining, a new exercise plan may just be the answer for you both.
So, how can you tell if your pet needs a new, or more vigorous workout routine? While he or she is standing, look down. You should see an indentation after the ribs. Place your hands on the rib cage and apply gentle pressure. Can you feel the ribs? That’s great news! Can you “pinch an inch”? That’s not so great, but there’s hope for you both! Read on to find out how you can get your dog back on track.
1. The Benefits of Exercise
A regular work out can be greatly beneficial to your pet’s health (and yours!). It can reduce or eliminate some behavior issues such as digging, excessive barking, chewing and hyperactivity. And, there’s more, if you can believe it. Routine exercise can keep your dog healthy, reduce digestive issues, build confidence and allow them to get a great night’s sleep.
2. Get Checked Out
Always be sure to check with your pet’s vet before starting a new exercise program. He or she can check your dog for any health issues that may be aggravated by exercise, and suggest safe activities or the best way to build up to a routine that benefits you both.
3. Know Your Pet
Although you know exercise is crucial to your pet’s health, there are things like breed, size and age that can determine what kind of routine you should fall into. For example, breeds with short or flat noses can have trouble breathing when exercised vigorously, especially in warmer climates. Have a new puppy? Exercise is great for energetic young dogs, but sustained jogging or running is not recommended for dogs under 18 months, because their little bones are still growing. Also be aware that large dogs are more prone to injuries, arthritis and hip dysplasia, so sustained jogging can be hard on their joints and bones, too. If you’ve got a large dog, make sure it is in good shape before you start a jogging regimen.
4. Total Body Workouts
Pets, much like their human counterparts, need to exercise more than just their bodies. Try giving your dog’s brain a workout with puzzle toys, food games, obedience and trick training and getting friendly with chew toys.
5. Monitor Behavior and Progress
If your dog is showing signs of pent-up energy, it’s likely he or she is not getting adequate aerobic exercise. However, be sure to avoid overexertion. It can be easy to get caught up in your new routine, but remember, if your dog tries to stop or begins slowing down, accommodate his or her pace and needs.
One last thing: be sure your dog is well hydrated, but don’t let him drink lots of water right after an intense workout, or eat a huge meal too soon after winding down.
Want to see more cool pet stuff like this? You can also stay up on our latest giveaways, events and special deals by signing up for our newsletter. It’s the cat’s meow!