People often believe that if their pet has lots of love, water, food and proper medical care then they are set for life. Two items we often forget about are:
Giving them adequate physical exercise, and,
Plenty of mental challenges to stimulate their brains.
These two factors can increase their quality of life by leaps and bounds. ASPCA Animal Trainer, Kristen Collins, touts that “Pets need jobs.” Both dogs and cats have a need to be engaged and stay busy. Keep in mind that animals were created to take care of themselves by foraging or hunting for food and shelter. Although our pets have been domesticated, their energy levels and natural instincts still exist. More often than not our pets are bored and spend the day laying around waiting for us to return home from work. This is why animals get into mischief while we are away. They need simulation to deal with the overwhelming restless feeling. Much like children, dogs and cats that are left to their own devices must find new ways to entertain themselves. When you find your cat or dog gnawing or scratching on furniture or shoes, eating houseplants, tipping over the garbage can or spending excessive amounts of time barking or meowing, then it is time to take action (or, consider taking action before these behaviors occur). Several different workouts are recommended:
Get moving — Healthy dogs need a minimum of one hour of aerobic exercise per day. Kristen recommends breaking this into 2 separate 30 minute sessions. Great ways to burn off that energy are jogging, playing at the dog park and swimming.
Games — Combine exercise with a lesson by involving your pet in structured games. These can be games such as tug-of war or fetch. These types of games teach your dog about impulse control and creates a closer relationship between the two of you. Great items for the game of fetch include items such as an Air KONG squeaker tennis ball, a plain tennis ball, flexible Frisbee for dogs, Flying Squirrel fetch toy, or maybe just a … Read the rest