People who live in apartments and own pets are face with a dilemma: how can I make sure my favorite little ball of fluff is getting the exercise he/she/it needs?
First things first, make sure your vet gives you the go-ahead. We don’t want any poochie heart attacks.
Speaking of your cupcake’s cardiovascular health: start slow. If your pet isn’t used to moving around, he’s not going to be able to run miles and miles the first time you ask. You can begin just by walking. If your dog acts like he’s exhausted, he probably is, so go easy. Dogs with flat faces apparently have more issues with breathing, so keep that in mind. And keep the puppy on a short leash—she’ll run herself into the ground if you let her. Ditto with the old dogs.
If you’re a walker or runner, take your dog with you. It’s kind of like having a gym buddy, but without all the underlying competitiveness. Both of you will benefit, health-wise. I have a friend who takes her dog on weeks-long backpacking trips; that dog is ripped.
If you’re not so into moving yourself, try fetch or other games. That way, you and your pet can have quality time and he can get a good work out. You can also go to a dog park, and let your pets exercise each other through play.
Swimming is another great option for dogs. If you’re lucky, you can even go swimming with your dog. If your dog is like my first dog, he’ll try to save you and end up clawing you to near death. Plan accordingly.
There’s such a thing as an agility class for dogs. True story. If you want a little more structure, or a pet with a totally random skill at maneuvering, sign up for one.
Cats need exercise, too! I personally can’t imagine walking a cat, although I know it’s done, and would instead recommend playing hunting/swatting/pouncing games with toys like fake mice or laser pointers. Or just feed him a little cat nip and he’ll go nuts on his own.
…Birds, too. This is complicated enough that I won’t go into it here.
If you’ve got a rodent—hamster, gerbil, rat, etc.—you’re pretty much covered by the abundance of wheels and balls available to keep them entertained. Definitely a low-maintenance pet, when it comes to exercise. Those wheels can get noisy, though.
Hire a dog walker.
How do you make sure your four-legged roommate stays healthy? Tell us here or on Facebook!