Purina sponsors this post. All opinions are my own. #PurinaPartner
Today I am mixing it up a little because these tips aren’t for humans; I’m sharing 5 Tips To Keep Your Pet Fit This Summer! You all know that health and fitness plays a massive part in my life and the life of my family. I have spent years educating myself and my family on the importance of fitness and healthy eating, but for some reason, I never considered one of the smallest members of my family; our dog, Sophie.
Last week I attended Top Tips to Keeping Your Pets Healthy This Summer a Google Hangout with Dr. Kurt Venator, (Purina Veterinarian). I have to admit; I learned a ton, and I was blown away by how much of an impact exercise can play on our pets lives. I knew that choosing the right food was important, but I had never really considered exercise.
My husband and I come from different types of backgrounds when it comes to pets. I come from a free-range pet background where pets were allowed to roam. I did live in the country, so we didn’t have to worry about our dogs running away or getting hit by cars. There were no “house pets” and dogs did not sleep inside. My husband, on the other hand, grew up living with as many as eight to ten (maybe more) dogs living in the house at one time. They could sleep in the bed, eat people food; it was an anything goes living situation.
Needless to say, this caused countless arguments when we got married and for years we lived without a dog because we just couldn’t agree on how and where a dog should live.
It’s clear to see we now have a dog, and she is a “house dog.” They finally won that battle. As you can see, based on my experience with dogs, I didn’t understand their need for exercise until this Google Hangout. My dogs were growing up always got plenty of exercises. They ran all the time. Sophie on the other hand only runs when she sees a bird or a rabbit. The kids take her on walks when we go camping, but other than that, she is one lazy dog. She goes outside every day, but she lays out in the sun and doesn’t move until I call her inside.
After listening to Dr. Kurt, I knew it was time to make some changes. I will talk to you more about those in my next post! Until then I would like to share what I learned.
5 Tips To Keep Your Pet Fit This Summer:
1. Understand the role of exercise for pets: Incorporating routine exercise can be beneficial to pets and their owners. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), an estimated 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. With routine exercise, pet owners can help reduce the risk of health issues in their pets and help them live longer and healthier lives overall. Owners should consult with their veterinarian before creating a customized fitness routine for their pet and remember that implementing exercise into their pets’ lives should be a gradual process.
2. Incorporate activities that are enjoyable: Pet owners should set aside time every day to exercise their pet. Examples include going for a walk or hike, playing catch or even chasing a laser pointer. Pet owners can use fitness trackers made specifically for dogs and cats to help monitor their progress to see if these activities are helping. Interestingly, a recent survey conducted on behalf of Purina discovered that exercising with your pet can impact an owner’s health as well. According to the survey, over half of the people agree that since beginning exercising with their pet, their fitness level has improved too.
3. Promote mental health: It’s not all physical. Pet owners should also be looking for ways to keep their pets mentally sharp. Food puzzle toys are great for stimulating the brain through problem solving. For cat owners, giving toys like balls, feathers or boxes to your cat can encourage them to investigate and get active physically and mentally.
4. Don’t forget nutritional needs and diet: Keep in mind that a pet’s health does not solely depend on exercise. Fitness must be accompanied by a balanced diet for overall good health. In addition to consulting with a veterinarian about physical activities, pet owners should also discuss their pets’ diet and nutritional needs. Purina recognizes the importance of a well-balanced diet for pets and has a dedicated team of more than 500 scientists, including veterinarians and nutritionists paving the way for innovative nutritional discoveries that better the lives of pets.
5. Keep your pet safe and don’t overdo it: Be mindful of the summer heat. If temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher, try indoor activities with your pets or consider exercising them during the coolest parts of the day to avoid hot pavements and over exhaustion. Also, provide plenty of fresh, clean drinking water at all times to keep your pet from getting dehydrated.
One of my favorite parts about this Google Hangout, besides all I learned about my dogs need for a fitness routine was being about to ask the doctor questions about my dog Sophie. Sophie is terrified of thunder-storms, so I asked him how I can help her because he mentioned that exercise could help calm anxious dogs. So I want to share his advice with you guys just in case you are dealing with this as well.
He told me that if your dog gets super anxious about storms you can try these things:
- Prepare a room for her that she can go into during the storm (an interior room with no windows). Take her into the room before there is a storm and get her acclimated to being in there. Let that be her calm place. Then when there is a storm take her in there. Be calm and ride out the storm with her.
- Also before the storm, you can take your dog on a run because exercise can help calm an anxious dog. In his words “A tired dog, is a good dog.”.
- Talk to your vet about your dog’s anxiety. If your dog is getting anxious, your vet can help you work on behavior therapy to work through these situations.
We have picked out a room for Sophie and have started dealing with her anxiety and I can already see a difference. I know it will take time, but anything is better than watching her run around the house freaking out.