I am always fascinated to check the health app on my phone when I attend a pet trade show because it shows the number of steps I take is off the charts. Having a tracker makes keeping track seamless. And by the same token, an activity tracker is a great way to seeing how active our pets are in a day. For the most part, they have to rely on us to boost their activity levels in the form of walks and engaged play, otherwise they tend to sleep a lot!
Recently, I attended a Google hangout with Purina veterinarian Dr. Kurt Venator highlighting the benefits of exercise on both the mental and physical wellbeing of our pets. And of course exercising alongside our pets promotes companionship enhancing tht wonderful human-animal bond.
“It’s important to understand the role of exercise for pets,” explained Dr Kurt. “Incorporating routine exercise can be beneficial to pets (and their owners) as routine exercise 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.”
He also stressed the importance of incorporating activities that are enjoyable and that we should set aside time every day to exercise our pets such as going for a walk or hike, playing catch or even chasing a laser pointer. And he further suggested using a pet fitness tracker to help monitor.
Taking his advice, I enlisted the help of my of my doggie testers named Clancy ( above) to wear a tracker to get a better picture of his daily activity levels. Pet monitors are designed to work out a target activity level based on the dog’s age, weight and other factors and then displays the dog’s current activity level to its easy to set goals to reach your pooch’s suggested target. Activity trackers can also track and display sleep, activity on an hourly or daily basis also calories and distance traveled, and allows the pet owner to keep a fitness journal.
Clancy gets lots of daily exercise in the form of three long walks a day not to mention the calories he burns chasing and running after his favorite toys! And, as it turned out, the tracker showed he was right on target from the get go!
The goal is to keep the outdoor activities interesting for both you and your pet by choosing different places to exercise or taking part in fun activities.
For example, the Westchester Parks Foundation is holding its first Mutts on the Mountain races on Saturday, October 1 at Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill. There will be a 5K Trail Race for experienced human and dog runners and a Lazy Dog Fun Run for humans who tire easily as well as small and older dogs who can’t quite handle the 5K course’s “ruff” terrain, this 1-mile romp includes scattered obstacles and a great view of the lake. Registration is open for both Mutts on the Mountain races – $60 for each human-canine entry in the 5K Trail Race and $30 for each pair in the Lazy Dog Fun Run. T-shirts and doggie bandannas will be provided to all race participants. In addition to the races, spectators are invited to attend the event free of charge. There will be a carnival nearby the start and finish lines featuring a dog park, food and drinks, a marketplace and fun demonstrations for both humans and canines. Visit http://www.thewpf.org/event/mutts5k/ And be sure to check out similar events closer to home too.
Its also important to be mindful of the heat and don’t overdo outdoor activities. 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.
Dr. Kurt however stressed that not all exercised has to be 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.
Check out this great infographic:
This post was sponsored by the Nestle Purina PetCare Company. However, all opinions are my own. I only write about topics, events and products that I consider readers will consider useful information and relevant to their interests.