Exercise for Dogs and Cats

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For The Love of Animals

Like humans, dogs and cats need daily exercise to maintain their weight and to stay healthy. Below are some easy tips on how to get your family friend moving, and possibly even lose a bit of weight if needed.

  • Walking for weight loss or weight control is very different than walking for pleasure.
    Make your objective to walk briskly and focused on the "out" part of your walk, not allowing your dog to stop. On the way home is when you can allow your dog to stop to sniff and do their marking. If you do it the other way around, you most likely will have a hard time getting them moving at the brisk pace needed.
  • Do your running or fast paced walks in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid the hot sun. Always carry a portable dog water bottle in the summer.
  • Move the food bowl upstairs or downstairs and rotate it so that your dog always has to walk to get to the food bowl. Dogs are smart and if the food bowl moves upstairs, they'll start relocating upstairs, too. Move the food bowl as far away from your dog's favourite spot as possible.
  • Use toys, balls, laser pointers, squeaky toys, anything that your dog finds interesting to chase. Try to engage your dog for at least 10 to 15 minutes twice a day. Treat balls are great if filled with low fat treats. Your dog will actually have to move the ball around for the treat to come out.

    Cats are stalkers who expend very little energy in seeking their prey and seldom stray far from their territory. When they come across prey, they burst into an intensely short duration hunt.

  • Move the food bowl as far away from your cat's favourite spot as possible. Like dogs, cats will sleep and lay near the food bowl so they don't have to go far when hungry. Rotate the spot the bowl is kept to encourage walking for their food.
  • Use catnip filled toys, catnip spray, feather toys, flashlights, paper bags or balls, anything that your cat finds interesting to chase. Try to engage your cat for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day. You can do this while you watch television or even read.

There are numerous toys that move and squeak that may also be interesting to your dog or cat. Experiment and understand that what is exciting today may be boring tomorrow, so switch their toys daily to keep their interest going.

Courtesy of Marilyn Murray ~ For The Love of Animals