How to get your pet to exercise more
Keeping on-theme with the new year, Anicura are super happy to be celebrating Move More Month for all of January! I’m sure we’ve had our fill of turkey, pigs in blankets and maaaaybe a little too much port, so, now, it’s time to get up off the sofa and get moving! Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone – you have your little furry friend to help you every step of the way. The dogs might be a bit more enthusiastic about it than the cats, but they can benefit all the same. Exercise is just as important for animals as it is for people, so here are some of our top tips for dogs and cats to make the most of Move More Month!
Let’s start with an obvious one! If your pitching arm isn’t what it used to be, you can use a ball launcher to increase the distance your dog has to cover and you can double up the exercise by doing it during a walk to increase the amount they’ve had to run (while not getting out of breath yourself). If you’re out of the house and concerned your dog is lazing about – there are electric ball launchers available that will keep your dog engaged when you’re not in. All you need to do is teach your dog where to put the ball they’ve fetched and the machine will throw it once again. Repeat until they pass out!
Wonderful exercise for dogs who love it, especially in the summer, when it’s roasting hot outside and all they want to do is hurl themselves into a nice cool bath. Other forms of exercise can pose a potential heat risk for big or fluffy dogs, so, if you have a breed like that, it’s a win-win. Don’t forget your Anicura Dog Shampoo to wash off the mud and smells afterwards!
- On-leash exercise
If your dog isn’t great off the leash, exercising can be more difficult. It’s definitely worth doing some training with your dog under the supervision of a professional, as it will make your life so much easier if your dog also responds to you when off-leash. However, there is high intensity exercise you can do with your dog on the leash - you can take your dog hiking, running, cycling or even mountain biking with you. You can also find an enclosed dog park near you where you can work on your dog’s fitness and their recall, in a safe way, during quiet times, if they need space from other dogs and people.
A different kind of training. It may not seem like a lot of exercise, but exercising the brain is so important too, as well as keeping active regularly throughout the day (being “non-sedentary”). Bringing those two together is where your dog will really develop his or her health. More importantly, you can do it anywhere, including in your own home!
- Treat puzzles
If your dog is not especially playful but highly food driven, these could be just the answer you’re looking for. Of course, you have to be careful not to cancel out the health benefits with unhealthy snacks, but some dogs go nuts for healthy foods like carrots or plain dried meats. At Anicura, we believe that raw food is key to a dog’s healthy diet and this is a great way to get them eating healthily and moving more!
Cats love to laze about, but they’re also super playful, so make exercise time fun! Find out what kind of toys really get your cat excited and get different kinds of them. Keep toys fresh by alternating which ones you use, so your kitty doesn’t get bored. Catnip can also help but be careful, because not all respond to it and for some it makes them aggressive. Use it, if you like, but don’t rely on it – rely on the bond between you and your cat.
Some cats are more playful than others – that’s just the way it is, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to get your cat to move and play and they’re just loafing around like an angsty teenager. Almost all cats, however, become more playful when they get a feline buddy. There may be good reasons not to get a second cat but, if you can, it could really get them more active – a youthful buddy gives an old cat spring in its step back.
Vertically challenge your cat. It might sound funny but, whether through cat tower or series of floating shelves, cats will naturally want to be high up, so they can view their surroundings and watch out for predators – it’s instinctual. Creating the option for them to do that may make them more active.
You don’t have to be around to get your cat up and moving. You can even exercise your cat when you’re not at home, with an automatic laser pointer. We know half the fun of the laser pointer is making them jump around yourself, but it’s still an excellent way of getting them active when you’re away. Just make sure you point it away from breakable or loose objects to avoid mayhem when you come home. You can also get a cat wheel, which is perfect for indoor cats or cats in apartments. Picture a classic hamster wheel and make it cat-sized – that’s all there is to it!
Take your cat for walks. That might be a bridge too far in terms of silliness, and you do need to do training if you want your cat to enjoy it, but there are plenty of cat owners who like to take their cat for a stroll and an explore. If you don’t like the sound of this, you could consider creating a catio (if your living space allows it), where your cat can frolic freely with all manner of games and toys to hype them up and get them moving!
What are you doing to move more this Move More Month? Are you getting your pet involved? There’s no better time to start than right now and get 2022 off to the great start for both you and your pet!