Fun Ways to Exercise With Your Pet

Charmaine Griffin
June 13, 2020

Pet Wellness

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Sun’s out, paws out! Since spring is here and summer is right around the corner, it’s a great time to get active.

You’re probably ready to get back in the gym but with businesses still opening up, maintaining your home or outdoor fitness routine is essential. 

For many of us, doing a downward dog yoga pose or cycling while watching your favorite show looks a little different. Fur friends are eagerly trying to get in on the action, climbing or walking around you and quite possibly making it difficult to focus. 

But you aren’t the only one who should exercise. Your pup or kitty needs to stay active as well. 

The health benefits for your pet include:

  • Reducing digestive issues
  • Supporting a healthy weight 
  • Keeping their hip joints in tip-top shape
  • Fighting boredom while helping with stress management
  • Minimizing anxiety levels

Not only are you supporting their overall health and wellbeing, it’s also a great way to bond with your dog or cat, especially if you have a newly adopted or fostered pet. 

There are a few ways you can exercise with your pet.

Walking

Walking is a low-impact way to get your heart rate up and your muscles moving. Your daily routine with your dog may already include a 10-15 minute walk.

Since it’s recommended that adults incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into their daily routine, consider adding an extra 15-20 minutes to your morning or afternoon stroll. 

Also, consider taking a different route than you usually do, especially if you live in an area with hills or near a park (in case you decide to take a break for sunbathing). And yes, your kitty can get in on the action too! 

It may take a little patience to get your cat acclimated with the outside world, but with diligence and leash training, you can also take your kitty for walks. Note that they may not be ready for a 30-minute walk right away, depending on your cat –– it’s completely fine to walk in short intervals as you build up their comfort level. 

Running 

Ever thought about taking your dog with you on your morning run? Instead of leaving your pup at home, let your canine companion join you! 

Taking your dog on a run can help with weight management, offer stress relief, help with bonding, and socialization. If your dog struggles with behavioral issues stemming from anxiety or other underlying reasons, running should offer plenty of stimulation.

Be sure to take precautionary measures when you are running with your dog. 

Remember, dogs can’t throw on a pair of running shoes to protect their feet, so pay extra attention to the terrain, weather, and even check their paws before a run. 

If your dog is new to running, start with shorter distances.

Cat parents, it’s probably best to stick to walking, unless you have a fierce feline ready to sprint into action!

Yoga 

Namastay with your fur baby! Yes, you read that right. The yoga community has embraced incorporating pets into the practice, with sessions specifically made with fur friends in mind.

There are tons of super cute videos all over the internet of pet parents being interrupted by their dogs and cats during yoga. This time, instead of telling your pet to scoot the other way, you can “flow” with them.

Disclaimer – practicing yoga with your pet might not involve them physically doing the same bends and stretches as you, but it doesn’t mean they can’t participate! Pets can pick up on emotions, so allow them to enjoy roaming around in your presence while you’re in a calm state. 

This should also help you focus on the present moment, even with paws on or around you. 

Obstacle Course 

Creating a fun obstacle course for your dog or cat is a workout in itself! But, there are plenty of online resources including videos and equipment you can purchase. 

Consider adding an obstacle course to your backyard, if you have one, or adding it to a safe space in your home. 

For dogs, agility training engages their natural competitive nature, is a fun form of exercise, improves endurance, coordination, and muscle strength. The same is true for cats, with activities like hurdles, hoop jumps, and tunnels!  

Using high value treats like Redbarn’s Protein Puffs for cats and Redbarn’s Chicken or Beef Cuts are a delicious way to help teach your pet how to use an obstacle course, and adds a tasty reward for their hard work! 

While your pet is completing their course, you’ll be so busy engaging them with treats or chasing after them, you’ll easily work up a sweat. 

Playtime 

Your time with your pet is special, especially playtime. This is also a great opportunity to get some extra exercise. 

Whether you are playing with lasers, wands, or cat towers, or you’re engaged in a game of fetch, hide and seek, or just chasing each other at the park, get creative! 

Whatever you decide to do, make sure to be safe and consult your vet to check for physical activity recommendations depending on their age, weight, and breed.

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