A Walk in the Park: benefits of exercising with pets
A veterinarian friend just sent me a video she made, starring her cat and dog,that I have to share. And while I realize I recently wrote a blog about obesity, I can’t stress enough the importance of the role of exercise in our pets’ lives and maintaining our pets’ healthy weight. I have included the link at the end: Consider it a public service announcement!
The obvious reason we encourage pet owners to consider exercise a mandatory part of pet care is that it keeps pets lean and fit. Like humans, when dogs and cats are in good shape, they have fewer health problems and appear, at least to me, to feel better overall.
In fact, people who exercise with their pets tend to lose more weight themselves and stay with a program longer. After all, there aren’t many things more effective than a pair of soulful eyes and an eagerly wagging tail to convince you to go for a walk. Besides – does it really feel like work when your exercise partner wags his tail and looks at you with a big goofy grin, as if to say “isn’t this the most fun you’ve ever had?“ Beats a personal trainer every time!
In addition to the obvious health benefits, regular exercise is a great way to bond with your pet. Of course dogs are easier to entertain, but even cats can be convinced to get up and move around. I once had a cat who was an avid player of “fetch.” All it took was the sound of paper being crinkled into a ball and she would come running to catch and retrieve our homemade ball for hours. She had moves that could put a pro ball player to shame!
Once your pets realize you are a source of fun and entertainment, they will learn to ask for these activities. For instance, my dogs bump their leashes with their noses and then stare me down with a meaningful look!
Pets who exercise regularly tend to have fewer problems with anxiety and bad behavior. It makes sense when you consider that all of that energy has to be directed somewhere! And if it isn’t being expended in a positive way, it will be – as I tell my clients- used for evil!
Exercise is one of the least expensive and most fun ways to improve both yours and your pets’ quality of life. So get up and get moving – together!