Exercise Breeds Happiness

*Exercise decreases anxiety in dogs, says Dr. Marilyn Southwind, a veterinarian and clinical instructor at the British Columbia University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

“Because exercise decreases anxiety overall, lack of exercise can contribute to anxiety-based conditions,” she says. “More specifically, lack of exercise and mental stimulation can lead to attention-seeking and destructive behaviors.” Hence why your furniture is all torn up when you get home one day leaving you in complete shock.

Unfortunately we cannot rescue our pets from the inevitable aging process but we can help them stay active and healthy and ensure they live as long as they possibly can . 

Active Joints Are Healthy Joints

Safe, age-appropriate exercise is one of the best ways to ensure that your pet’s joints stay happy and healthy. A healthy weight will prevent excess pressure on joints and exercise ensures that the joints stay lubricated while strengthening the supporting muscles, says Sarah Cremer, a licensed veterinary technician and a dog trainer.

“Doctors say a sedentary lifestyle is one of the worst things you can do to your body, and it’s similar with dogs,” she says. “These are preventable problems.”

Before increasing your dog’s activity levels, Cremer suggests consulting with your veterinarian and, when out and about, thinking like a dog. For example, just because you love going for a long run on the beach doesn’t mean your Rottweiler will. Seashells can be painful on sensitive paws, and too much direct sun can cause your dog to overheat.

Your Pet Needs Activity

Your cat can't go to the movies or go out for dinner with friends like we humans can and we usually can't take them with us to these types of events. Cats and dogs ancestrally are used to being out and about hunting and chasing—so unless you have a fox hunt on the calendar or a flock of sheep handy, that means providing engaging exercise opportunities for your pet.

The Mind Needs a Workout

A creative, thoughtful exercise routine doesn’t just provide a physical workout—it provides valuable mental stimulation as well. Introducing your pet to a new game or interactive workout will put his thinking cap on.

Have a smarty-pants in need of a challenge? Consider enriching games such as flyball or agility courses.

Your Pets Will Love You Better

Who’s a good boy? An exercised boy.

If you wish your pet would sit and stay with more enthusiasm, more interactive activity could be the key. When you spend time playing with your pet and teaching him new games, the relationship strengthens on all fronts and leads to more loving behavior.

“What you’re doing is building trust, and that carries over into general obedience,” says Cremer.

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