From the tallest of breeds to the smallest of pocket pets, exercise is important for the health of all pets. Although our canine friends may always be up for a walk and kitties usually go crazy over catnip, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut – meaning it can also be easy to forget about or even neglect our pet’s exercise needs.
Summertime also adds a few challenges when it comes to pet exercise, and warm weather safety is a must when the days are hot and humid. To help keep your pet active, the team at Summeridge has a few suggestions.
Regardless of whether you have a cat, dog, or exotic pet, every animal requires exercise to help him or her stay at peak health and avoid boredom and frustration. With an estimated 35-40 percent of household pets being overweight or obese, the health ramifications can take their toll.
Cats, dogs, and all animals are meant to move and express a wide range of behaviours for their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
You may not have to ask your dog twice if he wants to go to the park. After all, dogs are usually keen on reminding us of their need to run, play, and socialize with others. But when the weather isn’t cooperating, it can be hard to come up with alternatives. Here are a few of our favourite ideas:
- Walking up and down a staircase with your dog can get both your hearts pumping.
- An active game of fetch can happen in a den or a basement – just opt for a soft Nerf-type ball.
- Hide-and-seek using small portions of your pet’s regular meal can add a lot of challenge to daily dinnertime.
- An indoor obstacle course can easily be made using boxes, stacks of books, and other household items.
- Social outings to indoor facilities like doggy daycares can provide both important social time and play.
Your cat may seem to sleep the day away, but if you observe carefully, there are moments when he or she will burst across the room at lightning speed. Cats use their energy in a very targeted way, mirroring wild stalking and hunting behaviours. To add some pizazz to playtime, try the following:
- A laser toy (the go-to tool for kitty boredom!)
- Assorted toys like catnip mice or colourful balls that can be batted around
- Places to climb, such as cat trees and cubes
- Feather toys on a string or a Cat Dancer
Pocket Pet Playtime
Pets such as house rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, and other small animals spend a great deal of time in their enclosures. However, just like their larger pet counterparts, these small critters also need exercise and enrichment. Some good ideas include:
- Tunnels and other hiding spots
- Toys designed specifically for your species of pet
- Hammocks or swings (ferrets love to lounge)
You can also enjoy playtime with your pocket pet by simply interacting with, brushing, petting, and holding him or her.
Pet Exercise: Safety First
During the hot summer months (or any time of year), keep your pet well hydrated and protected from the sun. Find shade to take breaks as needed, and always carry water. If you take your rabbit or small pet outside in a run or moveable cage, make sure to supervise closely, and stick to mornings or evenings, along with offering plenty of shade.
Since some pets need a bit of extra support before embarking on a new form of exercise (like senior pets or exotics), it’s best to consult with us beforehand to make sure they’re healthy enough for the activity.
When it comes to exercise and play, what could be better than spending time with a beloved pet? Encouraging the best health and happiest life possible for pets is always our goal at Summeridge Animal Clinic.