Let’s Talk About Exercise!
Perhaps one of the best ways to bond with your pet is during exercise/playtime. This is because it involves interacting with your pet and getting to see their personality shine. How much is enough exercise? What kind of exercise should be done? Exercising my cat???
Let’s start off with how much exercise is enough. That will depend quite a bit on the breed, general health and age of your dog. Here is a great article to give you a general idea of what your dog may require. Of course, you know your dog and will know how much can be enough.
Since I live in an area with major weather changes and lots of snow and sleet, thus lots of salt on the sidewalks and roads, I like to protect Sasha’s paws when going out for a walk. One way to do this is to use Musher’s Secret. It’s a wax that you put on before you go for a walk, in between their toes and on the pads of their paws and it protects against the elements. Then you wipe it off after your walk. It is great stuff and helps to ensure your dog has healthy paws and no debris where it shouldn’t be.
Depending which category your dog falls into (ie. Hunter, worker, hound, toy, etc.) that will also determine which kind of play they will require. Most dogs though, love to play fetch, and a simple half hour game of fetch can tire a dog out and work them, getting their muscles to engage, the blood flowing and create a bonding experience. The article above does give examples of what to do with your dog depending on which category your dog falls into.
As for Sasha, her daily exercise regime is as follows:
- Morning: Wake up and run around the yard, play fetch for about a half hour, let her do her business and clean up after it. Then we head out for a mile long run.
- Afternoon: Teach tricks and work on old ones. (Sit, stay, down, off, leave it, up, speak, turn in a circle, roll over, shake a paw, play dead, come, heal, and many others. Here is a site to teach 52 tricks. )
- Evening: Out for a two mile walk at least. Sometimes we will jog/walk/jog/walk in short bursts.
- Nighttime: Just run and play in the backyard for a short time and then bedtime.
Exercising a cat at times can be a bit overwhelming, but patience is needed as some cats are finicky about what they like to play with and how they like to exercise. What I like to do with Isis is buy her toys that she will now respond to, now that we taught her how to play. I try to have two half hour sessions per day to get her active and make sure she doesn’t get overweight.
Each cat is going to be different as to what toy they enjoy. For play time with Isis, she LOVES Da Bird. It’s a feather toy attached to a rod and has a long string, so when you wave it in the air, it looks like a bird flying around. It’s the only toy Isis will consistently play with and enjoy. Remember when you are playing with your cat, make sure to let them “win” and give them a chance to “capture” Da Bird between their paws, or whatever toy your cat likes to play with.
Isis also likes to play with catnip mice. She will throw it in the air, pounce on it, run after it when I throw it and roll around on it. I will dangle it for her by the tail and she will bat at it and grab it between her paws and throw it around. This will usually last for about a half hour and she ends up tiring herself out enough to nap right after playing hard.
I usually have playtime with her in the morning and the evening. I work from home so I am able to manage the schedule I have with Isis and Sasha.
Please remember, if your cat seems to be panting, give them time to relax and start breathing normally. Always have plenty of fresh water available for your pet at all times and especially during play time/after walking. We have found that our furbabies love moving, fresh water. We use a water fountain for Isis and Sasha. It filters the water and the water runs constantly, which encourages the animals to drink more. Here is a website that compares the fountains and prices.
I always make sure my furbabies are well exercised. A tired dog and cat from exercise are healthy and happy pets. The downside to not exercising an animal can lead to them being overweight, diabetes, arthritis, irritability, and in some cases hip dysplasia.
Here is an article about exercise, as well as toy reviews and how to engage your cat and get them to play. With Isis, she will usually start to play on her own, and I take that as a cue that she is ready to play.
I hope that you enjoy your time with your furbaby. It is a wonderful, bonding experience that I treasure each day with Isis and Sasha. They give so much to me, exercising them seems like the least I can give back to them.
Posted on November 5, 2011, in Health, Tips, Tricks and tagged afternoon, cat, Da Bird, dog, evening, exercise, jog, morning, nighttime, regime, toys, tricks, walk. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.