- What does pet health look like?
Welcome to the May edition of our ‘What does pet health look like?’ blog series. With summer fast approaching, a season in which pets are keen to get out and explore the great outdoors, we are discussing the importance of exercise and fitness for pets.
All pets need some form of exercise whether they are a dog, cat, rabbit or turtle. Some pets, such as cats, partake in exercise of their own accord providing they have plenty of room to run around or access to a garden and perhaps some ‘puzzle’ toys to keep them busy when you are out. Other pets, such as dogs, need their owner to help them to get the daily exercise that they need to keep them mentally and physically stimulated, whatever the weather.
We talked to Doberman owner, Ellie Jacobs, about how she keeps her dogs, including Aris, fit and healthy throughout the year. You can read her story below.
- You have said that Aris loves long walks. How else do you make sure Aris keeps fit and healthy?
Aris LOVES his tennis balls and will always be up for a game of "find" or fetch – I will hide it around the house and he will find it. He will also refuse to give it back most times so that I have to chase him around the house. Several times a day – especially if it is too wet for a long walk – Aris is always up for me throwing the ball down the back garden and he will chase it and bring it back, as enthusiastic as if we were at the park.
I actually have three dogs and all of them also enjoy a good game of tug with their toys. Sometimes this can go on for a long time as no one wants to give up. This gives them indoor exercise as if one wins they usually get chased around the house.
We also go on organised Doberman Walks, which usually involves at least 15 dogs all walking through the countryside together.
- How important is exercise to Aris?
It is very important. I do notice that if there are times that he has not had enough exercise, he gets very restless mentally and becomes a little naughty, and if his routine is cut for longer periods (which occasionally it is, due to my bad health) he puts on weight quickly and gets quite sluggish.
- Have you ever taken part in any other types of fitness activities with Aris such as obstacle courses or agility shows?
I have taken him into a few obstacle course events at shows that we have been to. Although he is not the fastest, he really enjoys the running about and showing off.
- Do you find that making sure Aris gets enough exercise is also good for your health and fitness?
A major reason I wanted a dog was actually to help with my own fitness. Left to my own devices, I knew I wasn't getting enough exercise and having medical conditions such as Fibromyalgia and ME, I wasn't motivated to. Having the dogs means that on days when I simply do not feel like it, I have to push myself to go on walks, as they rely on me. This does result in me feeling more energised and I have actually ended up losing weight.
- You have mentioned that Aris has a healthy diet, what does this entail and what are his favourite treats?
Aris is fed dry dog food for his main meals, fortified with vitamins, minerals and vegetables. He gets treats around his meals, but I try not to give them at too many intervals. On a regular basis, these usually consist of biscuits, which have added vitamins. As a really special treat, he loves ham. I usually have this for walks and it helps the dogs on recall.
Aris also has a chew stick after his dinner, as good teeth are also important in his health. Every weekend I give them fresh raw bones from the butchers, which they look forward to – it’s as if they know the day is coming. In his dinner, I also give him Cod Liver oil, which helps with joints and keeps his coat shiny.
- A guide to keeping your pet fit and healthy
For some more top tips on keeping your pet fit and healthy, you can visit our site where you will find a range of guides for many pets, including rabbits, dogs and hamsters. Keeping your pet healthy can also have great benefits for your own health; you can learn more about the health benefits of walking a dog in an article on our site here.
The 3rdof May is also National Specially-Abled Pets Day. Formerly Disabled Pets Day, this day celebrates these amazing and heroic animals and raises awareness about caring for disabled pets, as well as being a day for encouraging adoption of orphaned, specially-abled pets. For more information on how to keep your specially-abled pet fit and healthy, Pet Premium have some great tips here.
- Next time
Next month in our ‘What does pet health look like?’ series we will be looking at the importance of grooming your pet. This blog series will include a range of topics for all pet owners including worming, travelling with pets, companionship, and dental care.