When it comes to exercising, it’s probably not something you get very excited about.  However, pet exercise might be one of the most exciting things in a dog or cat’s life.  Most of them love to run around and be active, especially if they’re healthy.  The key to keeping them healthy and energized is to exercise them, and they cannot always do this by themselves. 

Exercise varies between dogs and cats.  They cannot do the same exercises due to different body sizes and behavior.  For example, a dog can run around a fenced back yard but this is unlikely for an indoor cat. 
The first step in beginning a pet exercise plan is to talk to your vet.  Take them in for a check-up to make sure there are not any underlying issues that could put their health at risk.  Veterinarians can also help you determine which kind of exercise is best for your dog or cat.  Some types of exercise they might recommend for dogs are:

•    Walking/Jogging/Running
•    Swimming
•    Playing fetch, tug of war

One really great option in terms of dog toys is Zogoflex. These toys are guaranteed tough toys… so tough that they offer a money back guarantee. They have found that even for those skeptical pet parents of “power chewers” only 1% of customers return their toy and most of them request a replacement as opposed to their money back. Zogoflex has a great toy called the Zogoflex Tux which you can hide a treat in and toss. This is a great way to offer a treat while also getting your dog up and running after a toy in a game of fetch.

Just like humans, when starting a pet exercise plan, you need to start slow.  On the first day you might want to keep the activity to 10-15 minutes and build up to 30-60 minutes.  Regular exercise is important, so make sure to keep your dog active most days of the week.  It is important to keep a close eye on your dog during exercise.  If you notice that he/she is having unusual signs of fatigue or trouble breathing, it’s probably a good time to stop.  If your pet wants to stop, stop!  Dogs that overdo it could suffer several orthopedic problems.  Make sure to stay aware of your surroundings and wear reflectors if you bring your pet outside at night to ensure safety.  Always keep your dog hydrated.  Dehydration can be detected through lack of skin elasticity, dry gums, sunken eyes, dry nose, too much or too little urination and lethargy.  They will need more water when exercising in very warm weather conditions.

So, what about cats?  It’s hard to take them out for daily walks, but there are plenty of other ways to get them their exercise.  Here is a list of ways to keep them active below:

•    Keep things that can be hit and chased around the house, such as yarn balls.
•    Keep things that can be climbed on/up and scratched around the house, such as empty boxes, paper bags, scratching posts, etc…
•    Outdoor cats get exercise by walking

Cat exercise is a bit different than dogs.  They’re bodies can handle short, frequent periods of intense activity, rather than long, slower-paced exercise sessions.  Make sure that the exercise “accessories” that you give your cat cannot be choked on or cause suffocation.  This can happen accidentally but the best way to prevent it is by keeping a close eye on your cat and its environment. 

Pet exercise can help to prevent a number of health issues, especially with the heart and lungs.  Also, it can help relieve joint and bone problems such as arthritis. If you find that your pet is suffering from joint pain so has trouble with exercising, or if he has been diagnosed with arthritis, you can supplement with something such as Duralactin which will help alleviate the joint pain.

Behavior, health and life span can be improved with a pet exercise plan so get out there and start today!


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