Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Pet Fit

It’s is important to keep your pets in good shape with a variety of ideas. For dogs not only is exercise very important to keep them from chewing up the house and going stir crazy but they enjoy doing different things and just getting out of the house is important for them. Cats are much easier but shouldn’t be forgotten for individual exercise sessions. Here are some ideas:

1. Fetch

If you are short on time but you want to get your dog tired fast, nothing is better than a good session of fetch. This also a great time to work on basic commands such as “come here” and “stay.” Before you start playing fetch with your dog it is important that they know “come here” and that they obey immediately every time. Even if you’re at a fenced dog park, situations might arise where you need your dog to come over to you right away. Fetch is also a great time to work on “stay.” If you have ever played sports that involved wind sprints you know that a small break between sprints is much needed. Work on your dog staying while you give it a pump fake or two to give the dog a quick break.

2. Run

Do you have a dog and a pair of running shoes? Most dogs love going on runs and will be the best workout partner you ever had. If your dog is less than 2 years old make sure you go at the dog’s pace and stop when the dog gets tired to avoid hip or leg problems. Once your dog is full grown you are much more likely to have the dog running circles around you while you try to keep up with them.

3. Bike ride

A nice bike ride with your dog is hard to pull of but if your careful and you get your dog comfortable with running next to a bike it can be a great activity. Have your dog on the opposite side of the bike chain and make sure that they can’t get in front of the front tire and anytime you are near any cars or are going to turn go very slowly. Once your dog is use to the bike and you are very careful a bike ride is a great way to exercise an active breed.

4. Hiking

If you have some extra time on the weekend a hike is a great way to get out of the house for you and your dog. Once you get a quarter mile or so into the hike you should be able to let the dog go off leash at most places. Your dog will love being by your side off leash while you don’t have to worry about cars or other distractions. If you see another hiker they might be a little intimidated by a loose dog running around so throw your dog on a leash for a minute while you pass each other.

5. Doggy play group.

This is probably the best form of exercise for puppies. Not only is having a well socialized puppy very important, but puppies love nothing more than finding another puppy to play and wrestle with. You can probably find another puppy at your local park or dog park but be careful with your puppy around full grown dogs that might be aggressive. Doggy play groups should always be carefully supervised.

6. Cat play time

While cats aren’t going to bounce off the walls and act out if they don’t get exercise all the time some quality time with the cat once in a while is a good idea. Get a cat toy with some cat nip and throw it around the house. Your cat will go nuts and will enjoy the individual attention. If you have a dog put them in the backyard or another room and let the cat have the house to themselves while they get some play time.

7. A walk

Any and all dogs and any and all dog owners can go on a nice walk. Whether you have a bulldog  that will be exhausted by the time you get to the end of your block or a Labrador that can go on a 6 mile bike ride and still run around the yard when you get home, a nice walk around the neighborhood is a great activity for you and your dog.

8. Swimming

Go to the closest pet friendly beach, lake, or river and play fetch with your dog. Swimming as opposed to a normal session of fetch is very good for your dogs joints and they can get a lot of exercise without overheating. Try and get something to play with that is easy to find for your dog and that will not have the dog swallowing a lot of water. You can find bright orange “training dummies” at most pet stores. The “training dummies” are used to train dogs to retrieve ducks and other hunting activities, but are great water toys for any dog.

9. Training

Most dogs love training and a quick  session every day is a great way to give your dog some exercise for their brain. Dogs get bored easily so keep the training to about 5 minutes and use healthy organic snacks or just a small handful of kibble and avoid the unhealthy snacks for training.

10. Sprints

Find a hill, an empty field or beach with your dog and race them off leash for a short distance. Walk back to the starting point and repeat until one of you (probably you) is too exhausted to continue.

Take your dog for a nice walk and a quick training session every day. Mix in some other exercise ideas as often as possible, don’t forget the cat and you will have  happy and healthy pets.

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