Having trouble finding motivation to exercise? There’s a good chance your dog can give you the inspiration you need. Dogs need exercise just like people do; in fact, they crave it. Regular exercise is necessary to keep your pet healthy both physically and mentally.

Proper exercise can prevent a major health problem seen in dogs—obesity. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention performs an annual study and found that an estimated 54 percent of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Don’t let your pet get so overweight they can’t walk, so start now. Pay attention to the amount of food you’re feeding your pet and make sure they’re active. If your pet is already overweight, please schedule a check-up with your veterinarian before introducing a rigorous exercise plan. A reference to view healthy dog weights is the Purina Body Condition Score, which you can find it at: purinaveterinarydiets.com

Need another good reason to exercise your dog? A tired dog is a good dog. Exercise can prevent numerous behavior issues such as destructive chewing, excessive barking, digging, and hyperactivity. Dogs are inherently active; they are not built to be lazy. Some breeds were created for qualities like speed and endurance. Examples are hunting dogs like Retrievers and Pointers and herding breeds like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies. All dogs, no matter the breed, benefit from a regular exercise routine.

Try to mix it up a little. Taking your dog for daily walks is obviously an easy way to provide exercise, but there are many other opportunities for you and your dog to stay active. Swimming is a great option. If you have a water-loving dog, then swimming is a perfect way to keep him/her fit. Some breeds, like Labradors, can easily spend hours in a pool, lake, or river having fun. (Please never let your dog enter a fast moving or dangerous river.) Playing fetch is another option. Go out in the backyard with your dog and spend some time throwing a ball or Frisbee around. If your backyard isn’t big enough, check out the dog parks in Visalia; they have plenty of room and can be a great way to socialize your pet at the same time. Please make sure your dog has had their complete set of vaccinations before you take your dog into a dog park or even for a walk around the neighborhood. This is especially vital for puppies that can easily pick up potentially fatal diseases like Parvo from parks and yards.

An important thing to remember while walking your dog is to pay attention to their paws. If your dog has not spent much time on concrete, their paws may need some gentle breaking in before diving into long, daily walks. Watch for cracking or sores on their pads. Also, remember the concrete and asphalt can be extremely hot. Dogs have no protection from the heat and their pads can be burned.

If you are physically unable to walk, or you need an alternative to walking, think about a treadmill for your pet. This is a great way for them to get exercise in the safety of your own home.

Valley Oak SPCA is a 501(c)3 non-profit, no-kill rescue that operates solely on donations and contributions from our local community. To make an online donation or submit a volunteer application, please visit our website: www.vospca.org.

Valley Oak SPCA Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic:
9405 West Goshen Avenue
Visalia, CA 93291

Valley Oak SPCA Adoption Center Hours
Monday, Thursday, Friday: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

Pet of the Month

My name is Porky. Looking for an excellent exercising buddy? We’ve got the perfect one for you! Our friend Porky is a three-year-old terrier mix looking for his forever home. Porky was scheduled to be euthanized at a shelter with limited space until Valley Oak SPCA rescued him. Today, Porky is alive and well, but still waiting for his forever family to rescue him. This kind-hearted pup loves people and will make an excellent walking/jogging buddy! He is very smart and eager to please. Are you Porky’s perfect match?