Top tips for healthy active pets
Regular exercise is vital for pets to maintain a healthy body weight and build strong muscles. It also stimulates the mind and increases overall happiness levels. Not only are the health benefits vast - both for you and your furry pal - but exercise can also be fun, offering us lots of opportunities to bond with our precious pets.
In fact, 80% of dog owners and a quarter of cat owners already incorporate exercise with their pet with 41% claiming it has helped to boost their friendship and helps to ensure their pet is living an active lifestyle1. What’s more, a sixth of owners have revealed exercising with their pet has supported their weight loss goals!
Together with feeding a complete and balanced diet which supports your pet’s vitality through tailored ingredients there are a number of ways you can boost activity levels together. Simply follow our top tips and before you can say ‘two shakes of a dog’s tail’, both you and pet will reap the rewards of adopting a healthy, active lifestyle.
- Play, play, play!
It seems obvious, but walking is the most popular way of staying active, with 80% of owners enjoying regular walks with their dog1. Move at a brisk pace and you can burn as many as 170 calories in half an hour! Plus, many owners report that their dog is better behaved when they receive regular exercise2.
To mix things up why not take a ball along with you and every time they go to fetch try out some muscle-building moves such as jumping squats, lunges or sit ups or switch up your usual route and incorporate sprints to really get your heart rate up. Because dogs are creatures of habit, once they get into the routine of a daily walk, they won't let you wimp out even if it's drizzling, or you just don’t feel like it. Thankfully, their excitement should be enough to boost your enthusiasm – and your energy!
When it comes to cats, playtime is a great way to encourage activity. Try interactive games, like wiggling a length of string across the floor just out of their reach or even rubbing their toys in catnip. It may take a little imagination, along with some trial and error but the key is to start slow, with just a few minutes of play at a time.
- Take up a new hobby
If exercise isn’t something you naturally enjoy, why not take up a new hobby that has your pooch by your side? Rollerblading is seeing a comeback and is a great way to walk your dog with a twist. Cycling is also a great option, especially if your dog requires a lot of exercise.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, paddle boarding offers a great opportunity for you to work your arms and abs while your dog sits at the nose in-between dips in the water. Perfect for those who are water babies!
To really challenge yourself, invest in a digital health or fitness gadget which enables you to monitor your weight, calorie consumption, exercise and sleep. With a myriad of options available for pets too these can be really useful to see how you’re both progressing. In fact, 1 in 10 owners already claim their pet helps them to up their pace, so what are you waiting for!
- Don’t forget nutrition is key!
For both humans and animals, small changes can lead to big differences when it comes to health and fitness. Many of us can get stuck in a rut of feeding our pets the same thing at the same time of day – often led by fussy eaters. However, it can be a good idea to take a different approach to food.
Pet behaviourist Naomi Opalinska recommends making mealtimes fun and removing the food bowl, opting instead for food puzzles that mimic the natural foraging and hunting behaviour of your cat. If you have a dog, encourage their natural instinct to scavenge and contribute to a boost in their wellbeing by hiding food around the house or garden.
IAMS for Vitality is an ideal option for both cats and dogs as its formula offers complete and balanced recipes tailored to fit all life stages and breed sizes.
- Craft a home gym
Many people think of buying home gym equipment as a costly exercise. It needn’t be though, everyday household objects can double up as toys to encourage exercise – ping pong balls, or the cardboard inside of kitchen paper rolls are popular with our four-legged housemates. If you have a cat, opt for activities that encourage their natural instincts to hunt and climb, such as cat trees and scratching posts, but even everyday household items, like paper bags and cardboard boxes, can keep things novel for your cat.
- Join a doggy boot camp
Doggy boot camps for pet and owner are becoming increasingly popular and there are already a few popping up across the country. Offering a range of activities from doggy yoga, hikes and sprints together with massage sessions and physiotherapy, these retreats provide a great opportunity for you and your pooch to up your fitness levels and enjoy some dedicated bonding time.
Look online for your nearest class to join or start up your own with your neighbours and their dogs – the necessary kit is easily available online, or perhaps make your own with some inventive thinking.
What ever ways you choose to keep fit with your pet, it’s important to remember to feed them a diet which will provide them with the vitality they need to be active. IAMS for Vitality offers complete and balanced recipes which are tailored to fit all life stages, breed sizes and target specific needs, such as Light in Fat, Dental3 and Hairball Reduction3, while also containing no fillers, artificial colours, flavours or GMOs. What’s more, high-quality animal protein, 91% for cats and 85% for dogs4, and essential vitamins help to promote strong muscles, while an antioxidant blend with Vitamin E helps to support a strong immune system so you can rest assured that whether you’re taking care of man’s best friend or a feline friend, they are full of vitality.
- Gem Survey with 1,500 UK male and female pet owners
- Cat only
- out of total protein