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Is your pet getting enough exercise? All Creatures Great and Small explains why he should

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It’s common knowledge that exercise keeps people fit and healthy, and can even extend our lives.

The same goes for pets, but just because you have a backyard doesn’t mean your dog is making a jogging path around the fenceline. He needs your interaction to get him motivated, says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Dogs are born hunters and herders, so regular exercise not only keeps them from developing boredom-induced bad habits like chewing and digging in the garbage, it also keeps them limber, aids digestion, improves sleep and builds their confidence, adds ASPCA.

More than 50 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight, which can result in diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and liver problems, says ASPCA. Not only that, it affects joints, ligaments, and tendons, which makes it difficult for your pet to get the exercise he needs.

Try to walk with your dog at least a mile every day. It’s good for both of you and it’s great bonding time. Try different routes and let your dog lead. You can even run, skate or cycle with your dog, stopping when he needs to. Make a homemade obstacle course with cardboard boxes and other items you already have. Play with your dog using balls and Frisbees, or go to the dog park.

If you’re a cat parent, know that cats need exercise just like dogs do. Natural born hunters, they love to take chase. A popular kitty toy is the stick with feathers, streamers, even a toy mouse attached to a string, like a fishing pole, advises American Humane. You hold the stick and make short, jerky motions to catch kitty’s attention. Ten minutes of play is usually enough for most cats, but do so often. While you’re watching TV or talking on the phone is a perfect time.

All Creatures Great and Small

4945 Forest Ave.

Downers Grove, IL 60515

630.852.0910