Five Fun and Easy Fitness Tips for Your Cats and Dogs

It’s not just us humans that may have overdone it over the holidays.  Time to get our four-footed (and tripod) friends back in shape and on those paws!  Here are five easy ways:

  1. Don’t free feed. This is a surefire path to obesity.  Optimal feeding in most cases is twice per day.
  2. Release their inner hunter. Although our cats and dogs have been domesticated for generations that innate desire to hunt still reigns supreme.  Let them work for their dinner.  Don’t always feed in the same spot.  Put one dish on one floor of the house and the rest of their meal in another dish, hidden upstairs.  Not only will they have to climb the stairs, they’ll then have to sniff out their “prey”.
  3. Let them work up an appetite through exercise. Designate 15 minutes a day for pure, physical play.  Dogs always benefit from a brisk walk – mix it up a little with a sprint here and there to up the ante.  Most cats love those little laser pointer toys (please note:  these should only be used under the supervision of an adult – no pointing at eyes or any parts of the body) and will give chase to their light incessantly.  If lasers don’t appeal, a ping pong ball bouncing around in the bathtub is a source of great fascination and exercise.
  4. Treats are just that – treats. These are not to be given automatically.  Nor because we feel guilty for leaving the house, etc., etc.  Calories from treats add up very quickly.  Instead of giving a whole treat at one time, break them up into very small pieces.  Have your cat or dog “work” for it – following you around the room, sitting on command, climbing up and down stairs, going through a homemade agility course.  Your dog will be just as pleased with a hearty “good dog” and a teensy taste as a big one!
  5. Have fun together! Play hide and seek.  We have a cat that absolutely loves this and will stalk us around the house.  Let your dog try that mini slide at the playground – we’ve seen a Boston terrier X that made a continuous circuit up and down one, all on his own!

Share your ideas for getting your canines and felines back in top form!  What’s worked for you?

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