All pets need daily exercise to thrive. Just like with humans, regular physical activity provides incredible physical, mental, and emotional benefits for dogs and cats. Our pets rely on us for literally everything so ensuring this basic need is being met is one of our many responsibilities as loving, caring pet owners.
The team at King’s Trail Animal Hospital wants to make exercising with pets safe, easy, and fun. Keep reading to learn more tips for success!
Exercising with Pets
When it comes to exercising with pets, there are some basic strategies to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone.
- Stick to mornings and evenings. The cooler hours of the day are ideal for exercising with pets outside. If you must go out during the middle of the day, choose shaded areas, and stay off asphalt and concrete, which can become hot enough to burn your dog’s paws.
- Be observant. Always be on the lookout for potential problems as you exercise outdoors with your pet. Be aware of approaching animals, people, and vehicles. Don’t let your pet investigate puddles, garbage, or wildlife (dead or alive).
- Take breaks. Florida is hot (in case you hadn’t noticed!), and heat stroke is a real concern for pets. Take frequent water breaks in the shade, and don’t allow your pet to become overheated.
- Make it fun! Mental stimulation is an important part of exercise for both people and pets. Spice things up by walking in a different neighborhood or on a new hiking trail. You could also try an agility class or teaching your indoor cat a new trick, such as fetch or jumping through a hoop.
- Overdo it. Always keep an eye on your pet, and stop for a water break in the shade if you notice them panting excessively or slowing down.
- Overlook special needs pets. Older pets, pets with vision or hearing loss, and those with physical disabilities, such as missing limbs or wheelchairs, still enjoy and benefit from daily exercise. Talk with your veterinarian about a safe exercise program for your special needs pet.
- Use a retractable leash. Retractable leashes can easily become entangled around your dog’s legs or your own, making it very difficult to control an excited dog. We recommend using a sturdy leash that’s 4-6 feet in length.
- Forget parasite protection. All pets, even those who live indoors, should be on a year-round flea, tick, and heartworm prevention protocol. This is especially important in Florida’s warm climate where parasites can thrive all year long.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information. Now, get out there and have some fun!