Exercising with your dog or cat
Dogs and cats are intelligent mammals and boredom leads to 'troublesome' or depressed animals. In this article you can read more about how you and your pet can enjoy sports and games.
Physical and mental challenge
Sufficient exercise is the amount of exercise in which dogs and cats can be fit, healthy and satisfied. It goes without saying that young animals need more exercise and can handle more than older animals. Besides physical activity, many animals also benefit from mental stimulation.
Move and play with your cat
Looking for a way get your cat more active? You can do this by throwing treats around and letting your cat move to eat them. In addition, treats or kibble can be hidden in an interactive ball or feeding maze. Good examples of cat toys that you can use to get your cat more active are: Petsafe Slimcat, Trixie Cat Activity Snack Roll, Catit Senses Feeding Maze, Kong Cat Wobbler and Trixie Cat Activity Snack Box. All these games can be found on our website.
You can also play other games in which your cat has to be active. If your cat does not play on its own, perhaps you should help her a bit! For example, attach a fluffy object to a cord and draw your cat’s attention. Your cat will probably be smart enough to know this is not a real mouse, but its hunter instinct will come out and she will sneak up on her prey. Some cats also enjoy a toy in which treats are hidden, for example in a cardboard tube or an empty kitchen roll. You can also provide your cat with a fake mouse, a ping-pong ball or a ball of fur. The important thing is that your cat is stimulated, physically as well as mentally. Lastly, you can try a cat toy that includes a laser or automatic moving mechanism which enables your cat to play even when your away from home: Frolicat Dart, Frolicat Pounce, Frolicat Flik and Frolicat Bolt.
Moving and playing with your dog
Many dogs love to play with some sort of ball. Dog toy balls are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You can throw them high, throw them low or hide them. Hiding balls from your dog is best to do inside your home if your dog has not done this before. Hide the ball in your garden or inside and let your dog find it. After doing so, you can make it a bit more difficult for your dog. Keep in mind that your dog has to be trained to retrieve the ball back to you once it has found it.
If you are looking for more mentally challenging games, then have a look at dog puzzle toys and stuffable dog toys.
Be more active with your dog
There are many other sports that you can try with your dog such as agility training, bikejoring, canicross, flyball, fetch games, hunting, retrieve games and obedience training. Running with your dog also gives plenty of physical exercise. If your dog loves to go swimming then this can also be perfectly done together. Depending on the type of dog you can choose your perfect sport to play together. We will highlight a few dog sports below.
If you and your dog love to be competitive, then perhaps flyball is a good choice for you and your furry friend. Flyball consists of 2 individual obstacle courses with a “flyball box” at the end of each track. Two dogs race against each other and have to get around all the obstacles, retrieve the ball from the box and get back as quickly as possible. This game is very competitive and the obvious goal is to retrieve the ball and finish first. Beware that flyball is an advanced dog sport and not very suitable for puppies, as their joints are not fully grown yet.
Bikejoring is a team sport in which your dog is connected to your mountain bike with a leash. You really have to work together, as your dog has to walk or run in front of the bike. It is a very dynamic and exciting sport for sporty dogs that love to pull and run. Your dog should be at least 1 year old. For large dog breeds it is recommended to start only when they are 14 to 18 months old and when they are fully grown. Of course it is also possible to participate in bikejoring competitions.
Canicross is running freely in nature with your dog, while you and your dog are attached to an elastic line, which reduces shock to your dog and yourself. Dogs usually wear a specially designed harness and the runner wears a waist belt. High quality equipment for this sport from Ruffwear can be found on our website. This sport encourages people and dogs to take part in outdoor activities, as your dog pulls on the line and helps you to keep up with him using the elastic line. Most dogs and people love to participate in this sport and are usually very fit. Just like the other sports mentioned, canicross events are held all over the UK and Europe, where distances vary from a mile up to 28 miles.
Swimming with your dog
Many dogs love to swim, but that does not mean that every dog is a good swimmer! It is important to check if your dog is actually good at swimming before entering deep water. Sometimes, dogs need to be challenged to enter the water, for example by throwing a toy or stick which he can fetch. Not only does swimming give your plenty of exercise, it is also perfectly suited for dogs with joint problems. Their joints are less stressed in the water and, unlike running, there are no sudden twists or turns. We recommend to always pay attention to the conditions of the water, such as temperature or currents. Another thing to be aware of is that swimming takes a lot of energy: 5 minutes of swimming is equal to about 6 km of walking.
Dogs have a harder time to lower their body heat at high temperatures (they only lose heat by panting and using their paw pads). During the hot summer days it is best to exercise with your dog in the (cool) morning. In the evening, road surfaces can stay warm for a long time, which directly affects your dog’s paw pads. Walking in a forest is usually more comfortable because of the cooler temperatures.