Getting enough physical activity on a regular basis while maintaining a healthy diet is essential for keeping pets in good health. Exercise prevent pets from becoming obese, and it also keeps them mentally stimulated, which helps prevent behavioral problems brought on by boredom. The amount of exercise pets need varies, though, based on different factors, such as age and energy levels. Keep the following in mind to help you determine how much exercise your pet needs.
Different dog breeds have different exercise needs in terms of their energy levels.
- High-energy breeds, such as border collies, Labrador retrievers, Australian shepherds and Siberian huskies, all need a lot of exercise on a daily basis. A couple of quick walks per day is not enough for these breeds. Instead, they need plenty of space and time to burn off energy, so plan on long walks and longer outdoor play sessions in good weather.
- Medium-energy breeds, such as cocker spaniels, schnauzers, dachshunds and Maltese, need an average amount of exercise each day. Longer walks and some outdoor time are usually enough for these breeds. They can also get the exercise they need by playing inside when it’s too hot, cold or rainy to go out.
- Low-energy breeds, such as bulldogs, greyhounds, pugs and great Danes, generally only need a moderate walk or a bit of playtime inside or outside. Even though they don’t require much, they do still need some physical activity on a daily basis.
Pets have varying exercise needs based on how old they are.
- Puppies tend to have a lot of energy as they grow. They often do well with several shorter bouts of physical activity throughout the day, such as outdoor playtime or walks.
- Adult dogs have different physical activity needs based on their energy levels.
- Senior dogs might have trouble getting around due to arthritis or other health issues, but regular exercise is still important. Older dogs need some physical activity each day to help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and keep their joints flexible. Talk to your vet about the right amount of exercise and safe physical activities for your senior dog.
Outdoor cats usually get the exercise they need while they’re out and about, but what about indoor cats? If your cats stay inside all the time, aim to play with them for about 15 minutes at a time a few times per day. Keep in mind that younger cats usually have more energy and need more exercise than older cats, so you should plan on playing with them more often. You can also set up scratching posts, cat trees and other places for them to play when you’re not around.