Play & Exercise for Your Pet

Play and ExerciseJust like us, your pet needs an active lifestyle to stay healthy and fit. Your pet will have different activity requirements depending on breed, health level, and age.

One of the most important reasons for exercising your pet is to manage their weight. Obesity in pets can lead to a wide variety of other health issues, from diabetes to kidney issues. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your pet to enhance the quality and length of their life.

At Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, we can help educate you on the right types of play and exercise for your specific cat or dog.

Play time is fun for everyone! You will get to bond with your animal, and your pet will love spending quality time with you. Our pets always make us laugh during play time, and we bet yours do too.

Play & Exercise for Cats

clarkson-Prevention-videoCats love to play. They need daily physical activity, both for their health and to keep them entertained. You should try to engage your cat in physical activity for about 10‐15 minutes a few times each day.

In general, we recommend keeping your cat indoors to help it live a healthier life. However, this can make it harder for your cat to get enough exercise. You need to provide your feline friend with indoor enrichment to ensure it can romp around and play inside.

Cat trees and scratching posts are great to start with. These will give your cat something to scratch and climb on, even when you’re not around. Cats like high vantage points, and will enjoy getting the lay of the land from atop a platform on a cat tree. It also might keep them off the countertops!

Every cat has its own preference for cat toys, depending on the type of hunting it likes to play at. Try out different toys to see which one your cat enjoys the most: balls with bells, toys with feathers, stuffed mice, ribbons, laser pointers, etc. Cats love stalking and pouncing on toys, like they would take down prey in the wild.

While young kittens and adult cats are typically easy to engage in play, older cats may be resistant. Find something that interests your specific cat, and even older cats will play with you for a few minutes at a time.

An excellent resource to help you provide environmental enrichment for your cat is The Indoor Pet Initiative. Click here to check it out.

Play & Exercise for Dogs

The amount of physical exercise required by your dog will vary widely depending on the breed. Nevertheless, every dog needs plenty of play and exercise every day.

You’ll know if your dog is becoming restless, as a bored dog with extra energy can display a lot of different behavioural problems as an outlet (chewing, hyperactivity, etc. ). Oftentimes, the best solution is to help your dog get the exercise it needs.

Smaller dogs (again, depending on breed and age) can get away with at least two fifteen minute walks each day. This is a good minimum goal for exercising your dog. Of course, most dogs need more activity than just this.

If you plan on jogging or biking with your dog, always pay attention to their level of fatigue. More active breeds of dog can enjoy these activities, but keep an eye out for over-exertion. If you come home and your dog is still full of beans, then you likely could have gone longer. If you come home and your dog is too tired to move, and is slow and sore while getting back up, then you certainly went too far. Be particularly careful on hot, humid days! It’s also a good idea to bring water for each of you to drink.

If your dog is getting older, our veterinary team will advise you on when to moderate exercise.  Doing so will prevent older dogs who are prone to arthritis from hurting themselves trying to play like a puppy. Adjusting the type of exercise can often save thousands of dollars of surgery to correct torn ligaments that are no longer as strong as they used to be. 

If you have socialized your dog to behave with other dogs, taking it to a dog park will allow it to run around and play with the other dogs.

Games like fetch are also good for engaging your dog in activity. Depending on your dog’s personality and interests, you can provide it with toys around the house as well.

Experiment to see what combination of outings, games, and toys your dog seems to be happiest with.

We can help you keep your pets active, healthy, and happy. Contact us now!

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