Dog at gym.

Pets and people really aren’t all that different. Just as an active lifestyle is important for our overall health and well-being, so it is for our animal friends. Thunder Bay Veterinary Hospital is a proponent of anything that improves our patient’s quality and quantity of life, so what are you waiting for? Get to helping your pet exercise today!

The Multiple Benefits of Pet Exercise

When it comes to being active, there are plenty of good reasons to make an effort. The benefits of exercising your pet are multiple, including:

  • Weight management: Calories in and calories out are the key to maintaining a healthy weight. Pets who burn enough calories to keep from gaining benefit from a lower risk for things like diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer, and heart disease. In fact, pets who are at a healthy weight live about two years longer on average than their overweight counterparts. 
  • Improved strength and mobility: A decreased weight load and more frequent movement helps pets to move around more easily. Regular exercise can help maintain healthy muscle mass and slow the onset of arthritis. 
  • Cardiovascular health: Getting the blood flowing regularly can help the old ticker. Pets who are active and at a healthy body weight are at decreased risk of heart and lung disease as well as hypertension.
  • Mental health benefits: Exercise can help stimulate a pet’s brain by providing environmental enrichment. This leads to improved cognitive function and  a decrease in behavioral issues.
  • Benefits for people, too: Engaging with your pet through exercise can lead to physical health benefits for humans and mental health support, too. 

Tips for Helping Your Pet Exercise

Now that you know why you should help your pet exercise more, how do you get started? Our team has some great tips for exercising your pet, whether they are a couch potato or raring to go. 

Some of our favorite pet exercise tips include:

  • Commit to a walk—many dogs like heading out and about, so make a commitment to them. Mix up routes and locations
  • Play hide and seek, whether with yourself, a favorite toy, or even some treats
  • Make finding dinner interesting by changing the location of your pet’s food bowls regularly or using hunting feeders for cats
  • Blow some bubbles for your pet
  • Play a game of fetch (many cats enjoy this, too)
  • Find a way for your pet to join you on your run, swimming, or hiking
  • Engage in a training session daily
  • Consider joining a obedience or agility class
  • Encourage your pet to use your stairs as much as possible
  • Build an obstacle course in your backyard
  • Head to the dog park (if your pet enjoys social interaction)

Of course, every pet’s abilities will be a bit different. Pay close attention to their body language and physical capabilities. They should be enjoying things—not dragging. 

Contact us for an appointment if you would like some input on how to safely and effectively exercise your pet. Chances are there is some way to safely get your furry friend moving more, and we would love to help.