Stay Active and Healthy With Your Pet

Here is an article we wrote that was published in the Celebrate Life! magazine created by Coastal Carolinas Senior Living Advisor.    If you wish to receive your free copy of this magazine, let us know and we will send you copy.

It should not be a surprise that when our pets enjoy an active lifestyle, the pet owners benefits as well.  More than 50% of pets in the United States are overweight.  And according to the Center for Disease Control, almost 69% of adults over the age of 65 are overweight and do not get enough exercise.

Why is it so important to maintain a healthy weight and an active lifestyle?  In addition to anxiety and depression, the effects of inactivity and excess weight are similar in both humans and pets such as dogs and cats:

·         Osteoarthritis

·         Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

·         High Blood Pressure

·         Heart and Respiratory Disease

·         Ligament Injury

·         Kidney Disease

·         Some Cancers

·         Decreased Life Expectancy


Along with a proper diet, the most successful way to maintain a healthy weight and mitigate these effects is through exercise.  The American Heart Association suggests adults need 30-40 minutes of exercise every day to maintain general fitness.  Interestingly, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention suggests the same for your pets.

So how do you ensure your pet is getting enough exercise?  Play, play, play! 

Cats love to play with little balls and those wonderful sticks with feathers on the end, so get down on the floor and roll the ball and shake that stick.  The laser light toy will keep your kitty occupied for at least 10 minutes at a time and will be sure to cause a few belly laughs from all within view.  Just 3-4 play sessions of 10 minutes or more each day will fulfill your cat’s exercise needs.  Be aware that these exercises will require stretching and moving (and laughter) from you to be successful.

Dogs need activity in their everyday life to be balanced and happy.  The easiest way to give your dog enough exercise is to walk him 3 times a day for 15-30 minutes.  Of course, playing catch and teaching your dog tricks are great ways to add variety to your exercise routine.  If you have a dog with a high level of energy, you may want to spend some time at the dog park or hire a dog walker who can run with your dog for 30-60 minutes.  Remember, the more activity your dog gets, the less likely he will get into mischief.

It’s easier than you think to ensure that you and your pet are getting enough exercise to be healthy and happy.  Just play for 10-15 minutes 3-4 times each day.