We’re all busy and finding extra time seems to be more difficult every day, but it’s important to ensure our pets are getting enough exercise. Pet obesity is a growing problem in our country and all around the world and animals face the same type of health risks as humans if they become overweight.
If you simply aren’t finding the time to give your dog the appropriate amount of activity, consider hiring a professional dog walker or pet sitter. If this isn’t a budget-friendly alternative for you, think about a neighborhood kid who might be interested in making a few extra bucks by taking your dog around the block a few times (with their parent’s permission).
Here are some more methods you can use to ensure you and your dog are getting enough exercise:
Set Up A Schedule
If you ask any pet specialist, they will tell you dogs behave better on a schedule and the same is true for exercise regimes. Just like human children, if animals aren’t getting enough exercise, they’re more prone to exhibit destructive, negative or attention seeking behaviours. If you need to actually set up some reminders on your smartphone or other handheld devices, this can be the best way to ensure this type of activity actually occurs.
Get The Family Involved
One of the reasons many parents will get a pet is to teach their children the responsibility of animal ownership and this includes activity and exercise. It doesn’t always have to be about taking the dog out for a walk and you can divide activity times up with certain members of your family. Perhaps a younger child can have a daily playtime with their pet that involves playing fetch, hide-and-seek and other activities that involve exercise.
A Team Effort
If you’re pressed for time when it comes to a daily walk, team up with a neighbor who is a pet owner and you can take turns walking the dogs. This way, you’ll both only have to walk every other day or you could exchange weeks for a prolonged break from this routine.
Associate Exercise With Tasks
Let’s say you pick up the mail every day after work. Instead of simply walking to the mailbox, leash up your dog, take him along with you and circle the block a few times. If you’re going to your kid’s soccer practice, bring Fido along and circle the field a couple times while you wait. Instead of going to the gym, why not take your dog for a hike through a nearby wilderness trail – anything that gets you and your four-legged best friend more active.
Often when we think of exercising our animal, walking the dog is the first thing that comes to mind, but there are other ways to keep them active. Play tug-of-war or fetch with them indoors, throw their favorite toy up a flight of stairs, down a long hallway or into another room. This type of activity is actually a great workout for them.
As always, you should check with your veterinarian before making drastic changes to your dog’s exercise regime. Depending on certain factors, age, breed, current weight and other considerations, your vet will likely agree that more movement and activity will benefit both of you, in the long run, pardon the pun.