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The Importance of Exercise for Your Pet


While it may seem like your pet is content with napping on the couch all day, they need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. The great thing about having a fitness routine for your four-legged companion is that there are many ways to do it. Cats prefer to expend their energy figuring out a puzzle game, or playing with a ball and string. Whereas dogs mostly prefer to use up energy by playing a game of fetch, being social at the park, or going on long walks. Combined with a well-balanced diet, having a fitness routine for your pet will keep them healthy and happy for years to come, and you benefit from it as well. Here’s how exercise benefits your pet.

Fights and Reverses Obesity

Obesity can be a real problem for our pets. It can lead to a whole other set of medical issues, such as depression, diabetes, and pancreatitis. Obesity can also cause inflammation, arthritis, and bone disease – all of which you don’t want your four-legged friend to experience. Regular exercise improves your pet’s metabolism, makes fat management easier, and can reverse obesity if they are currently overweight. If your pet is obese, start with gentle exercises such as short walks and track their weight. You can also ask your veterinarian for an exercise plan to get your pet back on track.

Helps with Arthritis

Contrary to popular belief, exercise is also important for pets with arthritis. Regular and controlled exercise induces the secretion of endorphins, which help to alleviate pain. A sedentary lifestyle promotes further tissue degeneration and can cause your pet more discomfort. What’s more, the only tissue associated with a sedentary lifestyle is adipose tissue, which stores more fat and increases the body’s inflammatory potential.

Prevents Premature Aging and Maintains Strong Bones

As animals age, they experience a decrease in their lean muscle mass. As such, the risk of disease increases and the ability to recover from an illness declines. Good nutrition and regular exercise help to maintain the strength and integrity of the lean muscle.

Exercising muscle mass also helps to maintain healthy bone density. Physical activity activates specialized cells that promote bone mass and improve adaptability. Muscle mass serves as a reservoir for immune system fuels required during a health emergency.

Creates Bonding Time

Getting out and about with your four-legged friend provides an opportunity for both you and your pet to establish a strong bond and mutual communication. By going out for a walk, run or hike with your pet, you’re creating a new level of trust, and a strong bond of affection. You can even bring the whole family out on weekends to spend time together at the park or on a walking trail.

Can Prevent Behavioral Problems

An inactive animal is a bored animal. A bored animal that is not given the opportunity to channel the energy inside of them will be restless and is more likely to act out in frustration. When you don’t provide an outlet for your pet to be active, it may manifest in behavioral problems such as:

  • Predatory behavior
  • Scratching or chewing furniture
  • Rough play and biting
  • Jumping on people or knocking over furniture
  • Raiding the garbage
  • Excessive whining and barking
  • Digging holes
  • Hyperactivity and restlessness

A healthy amount of activity can stop your pet from becoming bored and steer them away from problematic behavior. If you focus on giving your furry companion daily exercise, you’ll soon learn that a tired pet is a heavenly one.

Keep Your Pet Happy

A pet can be depressed when they lose companionship or experience a change in their routine by moving to a different home or the introduction of a baby. Exercise is a great way to improve your pet’s mood. Going for walks and enjoying a change of smells is an exciting way to get pets out of their funk. Social activities, puzzles, and toys also result in happy pets. Aim to get your pet moving with activities like hide and seek, ball chasing, and outside training.

No matter how busy you are, you need to have a regular exercise schedule for your pet. The age, health, and breed of your pet will determine the type and amount of exercise they should be doing. Before starting any exercise program, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. You want to make sure you exercise your pet safely and don’t overwork them. Book an appointment at Naples Coastal Animal Hospital or call us at (239) 500-0105 for advice and tips.