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Exercise is an important part of any animal's life, whether they are human, a dog, a cat or some other animal. But getting enough exercise isn't always an easy thing to do. It requires ability, opportunity, and motivation in order to get a sufficient amount of exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is a common reason to exercise, but there are more reasons as well. The exact exercise needs of a pet will vary depending on the type, age, and health of a pet. At Fairview Hospital for Animals, in Decatur, IL our veterinarian can help you determine your pet's exercise needs and how to fulfill them. Here are some commonly asked questions about pet exercise.
In most cases, getting enough exercise can have a real impact on behavior problems. In fact, dogs that do frequently misbehave often do so because they have not gotten enough exercise. With too much energy to burn, and the lack of a directed way to burn it (exercise) dogs are more likely to engage in behaviors such as excessive chewing, barking, or jumping on others.
Some people who have a large house or a big yard assume that they can put their dog in an area where they are free to run, and this means they will get the exercise they need. However, most dogs need more direction to get moving. Even if they are left in the yard for hours most find a nice shady spot and sit or sleep the majority of the time. The exception to this rule may be small animals, who are more likely to take care of their own exercise needs if they have ample room in their cages.
Cats are famous for their ability to nap, and a good many become overweight because of it. Because it is much more difficult to train a cat to go on walks. many find exercising a cat more of a challenge. Kittens are easier. They are more likely to instigate exercise/play time by playing with a shoelace or batting around a toy. Having a toy attached to a string and moving it in front of a cat can sometimes help the cat become engaged in play. Climbing is also important to cats, so providing structures that they can climb can help keep them moving.
Pets benefit from exercise the same way people do. It helps even out their temperament and can prevent excessive weight gain. A pet who gets sufficient exercise is more likely to live a long and healthy life.
No, exercise benefits go beyond the physical. Games of hide and seek can be beneficial exercises for dogs because they help to keep a dogs mind sharp and engaged, along with their body.
Dogs naturally want to sniff around and explore while walking, but people should walk dogs, not vice versa. Letting dogs explore on a walk should only be allowed after other training is established. Offering rewards for paying attention to you rather than their environment can help a dog learn to walk nicely. It is especially important for larger more active dogs to learn this, especially if they are to join you on a run or bike ride
10-15 minutes, few times a day is good for most cats. Cat owners are encouraged to do their best if cats are less that receptive.Even a few sessions of 2-5 minutes can help can a cat on the right track.
How can I help other animals, such as small pets and birds, to exercise? - Other animals need exercise as well. Making sure that smaller animals have a large cage or that they are frequently allowed into a larger area can help them get enough exercise. Birds also should have a larger place where they can fly free. If their food and water are in their cage, they should head back "home" when they are done.
If you are concerned about the amount of exercise your pet is getting, our vet will be happy to help you come up with some great ideas to get them moving. Contact us at 217-428-7709 to schedule an appointment.
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I visit Fairview Animal Hospital at least once a week for a few of my fur-babies to receive laser therapy and the ENTIRE staff always shows genuine concern for my babies as well as me. They are always completely honest in the care they believe my pets need and only suggest treatments that they firmly believe would help my babies comfort. I have six dogs and two cats who all have their own issues and they know them all by name, know what their problems are and cater to their individual needs. The best part of this staff, is that every single one of my babies thoroughly enjoys their visits which is most important to me.
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