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How Much Exercise Does Your Pet Need?

We love our pets, and in a perfect world, we’d spend all our time with them. The truth is,
most of us need to work and more often than not, that requires leaving the house for a few
hours at a time.
What does this mean for your pet? With you gone for 5-8 hours per day, are they getting
enough exercise?
It’s important to note that there is no hard and fast rule about your pet and exercise. Every
pet is different, so there are many factors to keep in mind:
-Age
-Breed
-Body size
-Health Issues
-Demeanor/personality
Cats and Exercise
First and foremost, cats tend to be fairly independent animals, requiring minimal human
interaction. Additionally, their naturally high metabolism means they can relax all day and
still manage to burn off calories. Despite this, cats still do need some exercise to keep them
healthy and to avoid obesity.
According to PetMD, “You should try to spend about 10-15 minutes a few times each day
engaging your cat in some form of activity.”
While younger kittens will initiate play, older cats will often take more convincing. Many
cat owners find sticking to a consistent daily routine helps keep their cat physically fit and
mentally alert.
Dogs and Exercise
Dogs need exercise. Without exercise, dogs can easily become bored, frustrated, or
unhealthy. How much exercise, however, is dependent upon a variety of factors. Smaller
dogs, older dogs, certain breeds, and/or dogs with health issues likely need less exercise.
Meanwhile, puppies and active breeds should receive a decent amount of exercise each day.
Depending on the unique traits of your dog, you should dedicate 30 minutes to 2 hours of
exercise each day.
Indicators of Lack of Exercise

If your pet is not getting enough exercise, there are some key indicators that will let you
know. The biggest indicators for both cats and dogs are: boredom and health.
When your pet is bored, you may find that they enact destructive behavior around the
house. This looks like: shredded up furniture, chewed on items, and even, bathroom
accidents. If you notice your pet is restless, pacing, or wanting of your attention, those are
also good indicators that your pet is bored.
If your pet has gained weight or has shown a decline in health, those are good clues
pointing to a lack of exercise. Exercise doesn’t just tone muscles or help keep weight off, it
also ensures that the body is functioning properly and efficiently. Without this proper
function, your pet’s body can undergo stress and in turn, a weakened immune system.
How Can You Give Your Cat More Exercise?
Cats are a little harder to grant more exercise to as you often don’t have the luxury of taking
them outdoors. If you HAVE trained your cat to walk on leash, that is the easiest way to
increase their daily exercise.
If your cat is strictly indoors, don’t worry, there are still ways that you can increase their
daily exercise to ensure a happy, healthy cat! Make sure there are plenty of toys around at
all times so that your cat can swat them around as they are feeling more active. Cat towers
and scratchers are also a great way to get them reaching, jumping, and scratching.
A fun DIY toy is an indoor ‘hockey rink.’ Take a ball or toy and place it inside a cardboard
box. Your cat will love being able to hit and toss the toy all over the box.
A laser is another fun, interactive toy that is sure to get your cat pouncing all over!
According to Everyday Health, you may even want to consider getting a second cat. Having
a second cat around is a good way to keep your cat on their toes and ready to wrestle or
chase.
If you’re gone for many hours and are concerned about your cat and their exercise, you can
even hire a cat sitter. Although you aren’t actually out of town, a cat sitter can still come by
your home and help entertain your cat while you are away.
How Can You Give Your Dog More Exercise?
The easiest way to increase your dog’s exercise is to take them outdoors! Visit a park, take
them for longer walks, or better yet, take them on a jog with you.

If you don’t have access to the outdoors, there are still plenty of ways to give your dog
exercise while indoors. If you have enough space, you can play a game of chase or fetch. It’s
also a great idea to bust out the toy chest and play other active games like tug of war or
hide and seek.
Even spending time working on your dog’s mental health is important. Buy a dog puzzle or
teach them a new trick to get their brain working.
If your schedule is tight as it is, consider getting a dog walker or sitter. This is an affordable
way to ensure your dog is getting what they need without feeling stressed yourself. Dog
walkers and sitters are especially helpful for dogs left alone for many hours. Puppies and
senior dogs needing frequent bathroom breaks can also benefit from a midday visitor.

As pet owners, we all do our best to ensure our furry loved ones are happy and healthy.
Exercise is a key component to this. Take some time to consider your pet’s needs. Are they
happy lounging around all day? Are they in good health? Are they acting out or destroying the
house? They may just need a Dog Walker!

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