June 6th, is recognized as global running day! We all know just how important it is for us to get regular exercise, and it is equally as important for your dogs to be active and exercising on a daily basis. Daily exercise has numerous health benefits for your dog, in many ways that might not seem so obvious.
Most of us exercise to try and maintain our weight in order to prevent obesity, and this is also the main reason your pet should be receiving daily exercise. Approximately 53% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States are classified as obese. Obesity is a serious issue for pets, just as it is for humans, because it has many negative consequences on the pet’s health. Obese animals have shown to develop arthritis, back issues, and breathing and heart problems. As a result of these added health issues, obese animals tend to live shorter lives than healthy animals.
Moreover, exercise is very beneficial not only for an animal’s physical but also mental well-being. Physically, exercise can help improve the cardiovascular and digestive system, and strengthen muscles. On the other hand, frequent exercise can help deal with many behavioral issues your dog might be presenting with. This is so because activity provides physical, intellectual, and social stimulation, which, when lacking results in a variety of behavioral issues. Some of these include bored and destructive behaviors such as: restlessness as night, chewing, digging, scratching, searching through the trash, jumping on people, barking and whining, and rough play and biting. Isn’t it nice to know that you could potentially resolve some of those behaviors you hate so much with just a simple daily walk! In addition, daily exercise can help improve socialization of fearful or timid dogs by exposing them to more people and dogs.
Lots of exercise is especially beneficial for puppies. This is so because frequent walking can help promote housetraining. Additionally, walking can help your puppy learn how to cope with your absences by establishing trust and a strong bond. Finally, in puppies that are timid it can help to build trust and confidence, which are essential characteristics for the dog to possess as it grows up.
Even though dogs are much easier to exercise because we can simply take them outside for a nice long walk or hike, it is just as important that your kitties get plenty of exercise! If not, they are likely to become obese or develop behavioral issues. If you are lucky enough to own a cat that can walk on a leash, take advantage of that and go for a quick walk around the backyard! However, if you aren’t one of those lucky ones your cat can still get plenty of exercise by chasing after a laser or wand. Cats are rather good at entertaining themselves, so by having plenty of toys available for them, they are likely to get some good exercise just by chasing toys around the house.
As you can see, it is essential to provide our pets with daily exercise and stimulation in order to keep them happy and healthy, so now that you’re done reading this, grab your sneakers and the dog and get walking!
~Rachel Tevere, Summer 2018 Intern
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