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What's the Right Amount of Exercise for your Pet?

 by simone on 25 Jun 2014 |
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Exercise is as good for our pets as it is for us - and for the very same reasons. Daily exercise will help maintain a healthy weight, tone and strengthen muscles, lower stress, improve circulation, keep joints mobile, keep the mind active as well as reduce boredom and therefore the chance of destructive behaviour.

A sedentary life can lead to obesity which has serious health complications such as higher risk of ligament and tendon injuries, joint problems, arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, respiratory disease, heart disease and diabetes.

The amount of daily exercise your pet should have will depend their breed, size, age, health and weight. Younger animals tend to be more energetic and will need little encouragement to play and be active. If your pet has a health condition, is aged or obese, talk to your vet about exercise frequency and intensity. 

Cats 
Many people believe that cats get enough exercise just being themselves but this is not necessarily the case, especially for indoor cats. Cats should spend 30-45 minutes each day being active. They can do this themselves by using toys, scratching posts, cat trees, perches, climbing trees and exploring outside or by you playing with them for 10-15 minute sessions throughout the day.

Dogs
Most dogs need between 30-60 minutes of daily exercise but the type of activity will vary depending on your dog. Working, sporting and terrier breeds generally need more exercise, ideally at least 30 minutes of intensive aerobic exercise. However, sustained jogging or running is not recommended for dogs under 18 months as their bones are still growing and developing and can be easily injured or damaged. 

Large breeds who are prone to joint issues, and older active dogs, will benefit from a 60 minute walk. Smaller breeds should get 20 minutes exercise two or three times per day but certain breeds should not undertake lengthy intensive exercise. Brachycephalic breeds with short or flat noses such as English and French bulldogs, Pugs and Boston terriers can have trouble breathing when exercising especially during hot and humid weather.

Dogs will often slow down when they have had enough and are ready for rest. Never push a dog to continue exercising especially if it is aged or obese. 
 


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Pets like variety so mix up their play and exercise a bit. 

Exercise for cats

  • Cat trees, perches and platforms for climbing and jumping
  • Scratching posts for stretching
  • Wand toys, plastic rings, strings, ribbons, feathers, balls and bell toys that encourages their pouncing, swatting and hunting skills
  • Leashed walks if your cat is trained
  • Food dispensing puzzle toys
  • Laser and torch games
  • Specialised cat exercise wheel

Exercise for dogs

  • Leashed walk or jog. If jogging, it is best done on a softer surface such as grass or sand
  • Play catch or fetch with balls and frisbees
  • Race and play chase with your dog
  • Many dogs like to climb and jump as well so look for a park with logs, benches, large boulders and raised areas
  • Dog parks and dog day care are also great for socialisation
  • Beaches, lakes, rivers and pools
  • Specialised dog treadmill
  • Food dispensing puzzle toys
  • Laser and torch games


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