Your lifestyle probably looks a little different this year than it has in the past. Wrenches thrown in your routine, like working from home or e-learning, can impact your activity level – as well as your pet’s. As the weather starts to get cooler, walks with your dog or activities with your cat may start to get shorter. While gaining a few pounds may not impact our daily human lives, to your smaller pet any excess weight can put them at a higher risk for arthritis and shorten their life expectancy.

October 14th is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Celebrate the day by taking an hour out of your day to do physical activity with your pet (feel free to break it up in 15-30-minute increments based on your pet’s fitness level and interest). The extra attention will not only make their day but will help them to stay trim and active to prevent weight-related health problems.

Play Outside

For dogs, in particular, there’s no reason why they can’t continue to burn off energy this season chasing leaves, hiking in the woods, or making the rounds in the neighborhood! As the temperature drops, keep an eye on dogs that are smaller or have thin coats (like Chihuahuas or Greyhounds). Generally, when temperatures are above 45 degrees, your short-haired pet will not require a special sweater or coat, but if you find that they are more comfortable with something wrapped around them in 60-degree weather, go ahead and put it on them!

Play Inside

There are lots of ways for your pets to exercise their bodies and minds while in the great indoors!

  • Who says an old dog (or cat) can’t learn a new trick? Whether you’re working on a behavioral issue, reinforcing basic commands, or trying something completely new, training your pet is a great way for them to stay active while you’re at home together.
  • Don’t dismiss those puppy/kitty eyes when your pet is wanting to play! Throwing a ball or tossing a catnip mouse is an easy way to get their heart rate up – and you can even do it while watching TV. Dogs and cats alike find it hard to resist chasing after a laser pointer. Have them jump over small obstacles to make it more challenging for them!
  • If you have a high-energy breed, you may want to consider taking them to indoor doggie daycare to burn off some energy a few days a week or invite a friend over for a puppy play date to wear each other out.

If your pet is currently overweight, you’ll want to take advantage of our special this month – 10% off bloodwork! A blood test can tell us a lot about what’s going on with your pet internally and can help catch diseases earlier than if you’d wait for symptoms to arise. Contact your preferred Animal Health Center location to schedule your appointment.