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Creating Exercise Habits for Your Pet

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Every animal needs regular exercise: cats like to practice their hunting instincts through play and dogs are happiest when they get to go for a walk. Even pocket pets, like hamsters, need a wheel to run on. Most vets recommend that pets need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to maintain a happy, healthy life. When your schedule is cramped, ensuring your pet gets enough physical activity can be hard. But with our vets at Blue Lake Animal Hospital, you can build effective exercising habits in your pet that don’t take up much time each day. Consider these tips for creating an exercise strategy for your furry friend. 


Exercise for Cats

There’s a common misconception that cats don’t like exercise but rather simply laze around all day. Cats indeed spend between 12 to 18 hours a day sleeping, but exercise is a major part of their satisfaction and health. Younger cats in particular can be high energy depending on their temperament. Remember, cats are natural-born hunters. You can find toys and create play sessions that utilize your cat’s hunting skills and desire. If your cat is constantly seeking your attention in their own quirky ways—whether that’s by meowing loudly at your bedroom door or walking over your keyboard—take it as a sign that your cat is understimulated. Provide at least two 15-minute sessions a day for your cat to expend its energy. 


Exercise for Dogs

Dog owners are probably aware of just how energetic their pets can be. While fenced-in yards are a great place for your dog to run and play in, it will still likely need at least one walk a day for optimal health. Here are a few guidelines to follow when building an exercise plan for your dog:

  • Bonding Time. Spending time together allows your dog to develop a bond with you. Playing is one of the best ways to foster a connection with your animal. Going for walks allows your pet to socialize with other dogs and people they encounter, which is especially beneficial for puppies.
  • Physical Activity. Most dogs can’t run around a fenced yard enough times to truly get any benefits from the activity. By running or walking a mile with your dog each day, you’ll both become stronger and increase endurance, as well as discover what’s new in your local community. 
  • Reduced Boredom. Dogs can get bored easily when they are confined to a small yard or crate for long periods of time. Your dog will appreciate the variety delivered by regular physical activities. Playing games with a ball or going for a car ride together is sure to reduce your dog’s stress. You can also find toys and games that help stimulate them mentally, get them more active, and reduce boredom.


Exercise for Pocket Pets

Pocket pets spend much of their time in cages or special small homes made for them. Many people don’t realize that these small animals need exercise, too. One of the best methods is to enrich its living environment. Include ladders, toys, and other structures to climb on as appropriate for your pet. Make sure the cage is large enough so your pet has enough room to play and explore without overwhelming it. Pet friendly wheels are also a great option as they give your pet a place to run. 


Visit a Veterinarian for Advice

Blue Lake Animal Hospital offers unparalleled veterinary assistance. If you’d like to learn more about installing good exercise habits in your pet, call our vets today for an appointment. 

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