Pets at home need exercise to be physically fit and gain stable mental well-being. However, the recent statistics by PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) show that a large number of pets at home do not have ample amounts of exercise.
Taking dogs for a walk declining
According to PDSA’s Paw Animal Well-being Report recently, 1.4 million dogs are walked in less than once a day by their owners. On the other hand, 2.1 million pets at home are left unaccompanied for 5 hours or more especially on a weekday.
Additionally, there are over 89,000 dogs that are never walked. These statistics show how many pooches’ health is at risk due to being cooped up at home, unable to unleash their pent-up energy or stimulate their mental capacity.
Results show that 40% of these owners chose not to walk their pets outdoors because they believe that their garden provides enough space for their pooch to exercise.
Another 19% of the owners confessed that they have health problems that hindered them from taking their pets at home out for a walk.
On the other hand, 17% answered that their pets at home have health problems, curbing their chances to go out for a stroll. Lastly, 16% of the pet owners disclosed that they live in restricted locations that deterred the possibility of walking their pets outside.
Obesity in pets at home a growing concern
One of the biggest factors that deteriorates the healthy disposition of pets at home is the lack of exercise. It can lead to various health problems such as chronic stress and most importantly, obesity, which is a rising pet health concern in the UK.
A possible significant rise of obesity in pets at home in the UK, specifically dogs, cats, and rabbits, was foreshadowed in a 2014 PDSA report.
It estimated that 1 out of 4 rabbits, 1 out of 4 cats, and 1 out of 4 dogs are either overweight or obese. 80% of vets discovered an increase in pets at home struggling with obesity for the last 2 years.
This is due to the rising numbers of overweight pets at home such as small rodents, rabbits, cats, and dogs brought in for surgical treatments. Additionally, vets recently disclosed that every week, 30% of rabbits, 34% of felines, 46% of canines are overweight or obese.
The studies imply that about 40% of the total cat and dog population in the UK are overweight or obese. It calls for the immediate attention of pet owners since this can result in a more problematic weight-related health issues such as arthritis and diabetes in pets at home.
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3 fun activities to prevent dog obesity
Is walking becoming an ineffective exercise for your pets at home? Do you want to find another healthy pet exercise you would like your pooches to enjoy? There are tons of entertaining activities you can take your pets at home to for them to become fit and healthy.
1. Bring your dog to hydrotherapy.
This type of exercise uses the properties of water such as buoyancy, viscosity, resistance, and hydrostatic pressure as its medium to train pooches.
The buoyancy present within the water, which reduces the strain of gravity, allows your dog to extend his joints and muscles to its full potential.
It allows him to immerse himself in this activity for a long time without immediately feeling tired. A 20-minute hydrotherapy session is equal to a 1-hour walk with your pooch.
Hydrotherapy is ideal for pets at home that are recuperating from a surgery or experiencing traumatic injuries. However, its extensive utilisation does not end there. The exercise also aids pets at home that lack sufficient exercise in attaining a healthy body in general.
Types of Dog Hydrotherapy
Pets at home can benefit from a wide range of dog hydrotherapy. Depending on your location, there are dog hydrotherapy centres that use heated pools.
Bring your pets at home to a warm hydrotherapy session, especially during wintertime.
- In-Pool Assisted HydrotherapyIt makes use of a smaller-sized pool fit for dogs, although it may look like a regular human-sized pool.
The pool contains stairs similar to a ramp, which makes it easier for the pooch to climb into it with ease. This makes it easier for your pooch to wade and exercise in a controlled environment.
- Swimming/Home HydrotherapyThis type of hydrotherapy does not require any assistance from a qualified professional. Therefore, you can do this with your pets at home.
However, you need to make sure that you have researched enough to create a good programme of hydrotherapy exercises for your pets at home. Bathtub, beach, river, and human swimming pool are some of the locations where you can do this exercise.
- Underwater Treadmill HydrotherapyIt is considered the best type of hydrotherapy since it is equipped to properly monitor your dog’s condition whilst in the water. This type of hydrotherapy uses a treadmill, which is smaller than a canine’s hydrotherapy pool.
It contains an adjustable water level gear and a treadmill speed and incline levels. Through this, the trainers are able to take control of the temperature, size, water depth, speed, and exercises that enable it to be suitable for various dog breeds.
2. Let your pets at home join organised dog fun runs.
Photo Credit: The News-Review
Are you looking for a more interactive and engaging outdoor activity where both you and your pets at home can enjoy? Try entering organised dog fun runs! This will give you the chance to enjoy the activity not only with your pets at home but together with your fellow dog enthusiasts.
Dog Charity Fun Runs 2019
As the new year dawns, so are the heart-warming charity fun runs aimed to help and support animals and animal carers alike. You can try enlisting yourself together with your pets at home for a healthier lifestyle and for a good cause.
- Muddy Dog Challenge 2019You and your pets at home can participate in the UK’s first ever 2.5-kilometre or 5-kilometre dog-friendly obstacle run.
This event is primarily conducted in order to raise money that will be used to care for abandoned and unwanted cats and dogs living in Battersea.
It shall take place in Exeter, Windsor, Cheltenham, Nottingham, Manchester, Tunbridge Wells, Newcastle, and Leeds.
- 2019 Dog Jog Series (Cancer Research UK)This event offers a 5-kilometre jog activity your pets at home can join along with you. The funds raised will be used for Cancer Research UK.
In 2018, the Dog Jog Series raised money for Fight Bladder Cancer. Once you cross the finish line with your dog, both of you will be given a complimentary doggy bag for your support to the good cause.
- 2019 Dog Jog Series (Carers UK)Another part of the event Dog Jog Series aims to raise funds for carers across the UK. With a registration fee of £10, you will be able to participate with your pets at home and have the chance to get a dog goody bag and a Dog Jog Collar Keyring medal.
The said event has an objective to raise £100 that would hopefully make a difference to the 6.5 million carers in the country.
To-Dos Before Enlisting Your Pets at Home on Fun Runs
Always keep in mind to make the necessary preparations for you and your pets at home before you go full throttle in the fun run. You wouldn’t want both of you to end up having a bad day after the event because of a dangerous accident or injury.
Carry out the following to ensure that your pets at home will have safe and enjoyable dog fun run activity.
- Check the health condition of your pets at home. Make sure to research the potential, capabilities, and limits of your 4-legged racing or jogging friends.
- Take note of your dog’s breed, health, and age before entering a fun run event. Some dog breeds such as Poodles, Golden Retrievers, and Labradors are capable of running long distances than other breeds.
- Ask your vet for advice. Double-check with your vet if your pets at home are really fit for joining the event. They will be able to give useful advice and recommendations regarding your canine’s training regimen.“A vet can let you know if there are any red flags, and can provide advice about what’s safe and healthy for your individual dog in your individual surroundings,” says Angi Aramburu, an owner of a group exercise class for New York City dog owners.
- Pets at home need preparation for chaotic situations. Dog fun runs may inspire many people to join in, which can prove to be a challenge on your canine friends especially when it comes to focus.Pets at home should be socialised for any scenario that would break their concentration on the activity. You can do this by taking your furry friend to dog parks and teach him to react to training commands in a bustling environment.
- Warm up your dog. This activity is important since it prevents your pooch’s muscles from getting easily injured when performing strenuous activities.Nearly all warm-ups in any sport require 5–10 minutes of walking. When the warm-up is nearing its end, the activity can be ramped up depending on what you want to do to your pooch.
3. Make pets at home take part in agility training.
For dog owners with spacious back gardens, consider including agility training during playtime with your pets at home. This fun activity is also doable if you live near a local dog park.
Agility training is an excellent sport that physically as well as mentally engages your dog. This sport requires your furry buddy to navigate a series of obstacle courses with your guidance.
It is usually comprised of see-saws, pause tables, tunnels, weave poles, and jumps. Hand signals and verbal cues are often used by pet owners and dog handlers in order to guide their pooches towards the finish line.
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Bits That You Should Know
This exercise is comprised of many elements from the pet owner, the pooch, and the obstacle course that makes the activity worthwhile.
The following bite-sized information about agility training will aid you in planning if you are interested in joining this activity with your pets at home.
- Pups can join in the fun too.
Generally, any puppy that is between the ages of 1 and 2 can already start joining this sport. However, you must seek the advice of your vet about the appropriate and safest obstacle course fit for your pup.
- No requirements.
You don’t have to be an athlete in order to join this activity. In fact, even people with disabilities enjoy immersing themselves in this sport. On the other hand, all dogs are welcome to do this activity, especially canines that have high levels of energy.
- Teaching the basics.
If you are still new to this sport, you can start training your pets at home by utilising basic obedience commands. It is comprised of stay, come, lie down, heel, and sit.
- Beginner’s training class.
Agility training for beginners commonly requires you and your pets at home to attend a weekly class. There is also a 30-minute time allotted for you to reinforce the new commands learned by your dog.
- Great gains.
Agility training does not only effectively prevent obesity in pets at home, but it also offers many benefits for you and your beloved pooches.For starters, agility training is able to effectively stimulate the mental and physical capabilities of your dogs. Hence, it reduces boredom and stress, and improves the behaviour of your pets at home.
Additionally, agility training allows owners and pooches to face and solve the obstacles together. Thus, it strengthens the communication, trust, and bond between the owner and their pets at home.