Petersen Pet Hospital - March 2020

Monthly Pets First

March 2020

Spring Into Action HOW MUCH EXERCISE DOES A BORDER COLLIE NEED?

The weather is finally starting to warm up, and let me tell you, spring cannot come soon enough. While I like some aspects of winter — ice fishing, for example — this winter skipped all the fun parts of the season and left us with gray skies and freezing weather for months on end. I’m really looking forward to being able to spend more time outside again. Humans aren’t the only ones who look forward to warmer weather though. Our pets can suffer from cabin fever during the winter too. This time of year, we see a lot of pets come in who have put on a few pounds because they weren’t getting enough exercise during the winter. Spring is a good time to build workout habits with your pet. It will help them maintain a healthy weight, and it’s good for their mental well-being. Dogs and cats need mental stimuli as much as they need physical exercise. My dog, Sam, is a border collie; she’s a working dog who is smart and full of energy. Stacey and I have to make sure Sam gets plenty of exercise or she’ll go stir-crazy. I go to CrossFit four times a week in the mornings before work, and when I get back, I take Sam out for a walk. She wears this little backpack filled with a couple water bottles so she has to work a bit harder on her walks. I incorporate some obedience training by making her sit before we cross the street. Our walks are a great way to start the day, and Sam looks forward to them. She sees going on a walk with me as her job. Sam also comes to work with me and hangs out in the office during the day. During my lunch break, we go outside to play ball so she can work off more energy. We’ve also started puppy agility classes in the

“If you are working on getting your dog or cat more exercise, I recommend making it a daily habit.”

evenings so she can run around and get more mental stimulation. I cannot stress this enough: If you don’t have time to exercise your dog, don’t get a highly energetic breed. A lot of health and behavioral problems arise when pets don’t get the exercise they need. I’m fortunate to be able to take Sam to work with me and have the time to walk her in the morning. However, I know not everyone has that kind of time in their schedule. If you are working on getting your dog or cat more exercise, I recommend making it a daily habit. Every day after work, take your dog for a walk, no matter what the weather is like. If you have a cat, block out some time to play with them before bed. When exercising your pet becomes a habit, it’s easier to maintain. The good news is that it’s usually easier to build new habits in the spring. Maybe it’s just me, but spring is a very optimistic time of year. The days are a bit longer, the sun is shining more, and the birds are singing. Who wouldn’t want to spend more time outside with their dog?

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