Exercise Fit For You and Your Pet

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By Bob Hartzell; President and CEO of Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet
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Experts estimate that nearly 54 percent of pets in the U.S. are obese or overweight, which increases their risks for many serious illnesses including arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and more.

Similar to humans, the problem is attributed to a lack of exercise. Rule of thumb states that pets should have 20-60 minutes of exercise at least four times per week. The time and intensity of the workout will depend on the type of pet as well as the pet’s age, breed, and overall health.

While exercising may often sound like a four-letter word to pet owners, it is important to remember that exercise is considered “play time” to most four-legged friends. When viewed that way, staying active can be an opportunity for pet owners to get off the couch and bond with their furry friends.

Here are five simple ways to help keep pets healthy:

  • Go for a Walk - One of the easiest and simplest ways to give both pet owners and pets some great exercise. Experts recommend longer walks (at least 20 minutes) to boost heart rate and metabolism.
  • Hide and Seek - The perfect way to exercise a dog during the colder months. Start by throwing the pet’s favorite toy. As the dog runs to retrieve its toy, the dog owner should quickly find a spot in the house to hide. Once the pet owner is hidden, he or she will then start to call for the dog. This game is a great way to tire a dog while also getting it mentally engaged. Even better, it can be done without stepping foot into the rain or snow.
  • Cat Curls - Not to forget about feline friends! Hold a small flashlight in each hand while completing crunches on the floor. In the sit-up position, flash the light alternating with each hand against a wall. Kitty will go crazy chasing the light, and his or her owner will get their sit-ups done too!
  • Dog Tag - Just like the game of tag most remembered from childhood, “tag” the dog and then begin running around the backyard, taking turns chasing one another. It won’t take long to get both heart rates jumping, and the dog will love it!
  • Climb the Stairs - Stairs are great exercise for humans and they are equally great for cats. The cat owner will quickly pace up and down the stairs at home, similar to the pace they would do on a stair machine. As the cat owner paces the stairs, he or she will hold a snakelike toy. The quick movement up and down the stairs will keep the cat moving around in total excitement.

 

To get more ideas or to speak with an expert, check out these events at local Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlets:

Oct. 6 - Littleton: Ask a Trainer

Colorado professional dog trainer Ron Johnson will help dog owners learn how to handle aggression towards people and animals.

Oct. 14 - Centennial: Canine Senior Citizen Day

Learn about health and exercise related concerns for senior citizen canines.

Nov. 3 - Denver Cherry Creek: Canine Senior Citizen Day

Learn about health and exercise related concerns for senior citizen canines.

Nov. 3 - Littleton: Ask a Trainer

Colorado professional dog trainer Ron Johnson will help dog owners learn how to handle aggression towards people and animals.