Calgary Select: Pet Fitness

Calgary Select: Pet Fitness

Getting fit with four-legged friends

(NC)-Canadian obesity has more than doubled in the last 25 years* - and our pets are also gaining weight. A recent survey,** conducted on behalf of Hill's Pet Nutrition Canada and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), revealed that more than half (57 per cent) of pet owners don't exercise regularly with their pet. What a great opportunity for Canadian pet owners to get themselves - and their four-legged friend - in shape by exercising together more!

Get Active with Rover

"Pet obesity is a serious issue that affects one in four Canadian pets," says Laura Kiemele, veterinarian technician. "Overweight pets face the same potential health complications as us, such as arthritis, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, and high blood pressure. Pet owners need to get active with their pets, as well as monitor their eating habits to ensure a healthier lifestyle."

Incorporating your pet's physical activities with your own is a great way to bond with your pet, while exercising yourself. Interacting with your pet produces physical changes including a drop in blood pressure and an increase in the "feel-good" hormones in your body. Pets also experience these physical changes, potentially impacting longevity and quality of life.

But Canadian pet owners aren't listening to their veterinarian's, or their doctor's, advice. The survey revealed that 23 per cent of Canadians rarely exercise with their pet. In fact, one in five said their pet gets a form of exercise not provided by themselves (dog walker, chase toys).

According to the CVMA, dogs need 15 to 20 minutes of exercise at least three times daily, while cats need the same amount of activity twice each day. Just walking your dog daily provides 30 to 40 minutes of exercise and allows you to interact with your pet, creating a bond that benefits both.

"Starting a fitness program for a pet is much like starting one for yourself," says Kiemele. "Work with your pet's veterinarian to develop an effective exercise program. Start slowly and build up to the recommended amount."

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*SOURCE: Canadian Community Health Survey (July 2005)

** The survey was conducted by Decima TeleVox and sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. It was based on a total of 1,025 respondents across Canada, aged 18 and older, between March 31, 2005 and April 4, 2005. The results have a margin of error of +/-3.1 per cent

- News Canada