New Year, New Pet Fitness Goals

by Meghan Vos

Winter can be tough for all of us. Between the frigid temperatures, seemingly endless snow, and shorter days, it is easy to cuddle up with our pets and watch TV at night instead of crushing our fitness goals. But keeping your pet fit is important and can reduce the risk of many health conditions such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, hypertension, and heart disease. Read on for some fun indoor fitness ideas for your pet. 

Walking your dog is certainly a great activity for mental and physical fitness but our snowy Wisconsin winters don’t always allow that. Scent-based activities are great for working your dog’s body and mind. Playing hide-and-seek is a fun game that will get your dog moving and will require him to search you out using scent. You can also use cardboard boxes to hide healthy treats or pieces of kibble and place them throughout the house for your pet to find. This activity should be supervised, as we all know a dog or two that would end up eating the box along with the treats. 

If you want to add some fun training to your pet’s routine, look online for wobble boards, inflatable balance discs and pods, or even foam rollers. Training your pet to stand and sit on these simple and affordable items for just a few minutes a day will not only strengthen their core and build muscle, but it will also strengthen your bond. A quick internet search for “canine fitness training” will bring you to an array of videos to help you get started. 

We can’t forget our feline friends! Cats are meant to do much more than just loaf around on the sofa all day. Use a laser pointer, feather teaser toy, or glitter ball to bring out your cat’s natural play/chase instinct and get them moving. Cats are nocturnal, so timing is important. They will usually be most playful at night. Cat trees and “gyms” harness the natural instinct to climb, which will build muscle and help transform their shape from loaf to tiger.