Guest post by Emily Ridgewell:
Following our four-part series and tribute to Robert L. Jones, we continue with our commitment to the overall health and betterment of our four-legged friends. We’ll be among the first to admit a lack of exercise coupled with a poor diet can lead your dog down a very dangerous and unhealthy path.
Overweight or obese pets are at risk for a number of health issues including everything from the early onset of arthritis carrying around those extra pounds to heart disease and high blood pressure. Just like their human counterparts, they’re also at an increased risk for cancer and a decreased life expectancy when they’re tipping the scales.
As Good As A Feast
There’s an old British proverb made popular in the Disney classic Mary Poppins first released way back in 1964 that states, “Enough is as good as a feast.” Its meaning is exactly how it sounds: you should not have more of something than you need.
Similarly, when it comes to exercising our pets, while we shouldn’t overexert them when it comes to activity, they still need to be exercised on a daily basis. The ideal amount of exercise for your dog is up to you and your veterinarian to explore based on a number of different factors that include:
- Their current size, health and weight
- Individual breed and other unique characteristics
- Age (from puppies to adults and into their senior years)
Weather also can be a huge contributing factor to how much you should exercise your animal. Some dogs eat less during warmer months and might not need as much activity outdoors, especially during the hottest time of day. When temperatures are unbearably cold, outdoor activity can be dangerous or difficult for pets so we recommend fun activities inside your home as an alternative.
Treats are a great way to entice them to exercise, and to have better behaviors while learning tricks. This way we’re not just giving them empty calories without a reward system in place. We can also associate treats with positive attention through playing games like hide-and-go-seek, whether we’re hiding or concealing treats from them to find.
Check out this infographic entitled “Exercise Your Pet” for more information on keeping your pet’s health in check with more activity that will lead them to a happier, healthier, and hopefully a much longer life with you