Category Archives: exercise

Do Dogs Get a ‘Runner’s High’ Like We Do?

By Linda Cole

To me, there’s nothing better than an intense workout to help me feel good. I don’t care what the activity is; running, tennis, softball, racquetball, volleyball or biking, they all fit the bill. I like physical exercise because of the ‘high’ it gives me when I’m done. We know how important exercise is for our dogs, but do they get as much enjoyment as we do from an intense workout? Do dogs get the same kind of ‘runner’s high’ we get?

Like humans, some dogs enjoy sports more than others. For a high-energy dog, racing around off leash is what they live for. If you’ve never experienced a runners high yourself, it’s hard to describe the euphoric feeling one gets after a strenuous workout. Stress is reduced and you feel on top of the world. According to a recent study, dogs do get that same feeling after a good run or workout.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found that both humans and dogs have a release of mood altering chemicals after running. Research was done at the University of Arizona where they compared humans, dogs and ferrets to see if we shared an endorphin rush, or second wind. They found that ferrets don’t get a high from exercise. They aren’t exactly the long distance running types. Dogs and humans, on the other hand, do experience a runner’s high and it’s more intense in dogs than it is in humans. The high happens when neurochemicals activate endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. Scientists also discovered that walking doesn’t produce a high for humans or dogs. Nevertheless, a walk around the neighborhood is still good for both of us.

When man and dogs began their evolution journey together, humans had to travel away from home to find food. They needed to be able to push themselves through sore and tired muscles to keep going. Since dogs traveled with humans, they also needed to be able to push themselves when needed and dig down to get a second wind. Without the feeling of euphoria, there is no reward to encourage the body to keep moving. The runner’s high is probably one thing that helped hunters locate and stalk their prey and then return home with supper. And since dogs aided in the hunt, they also needed to be able to keep up.

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How to Help Your Dog or Cat Lose Weight

By Linda Cole

An overweight dog or cat can struggle with many of the same health concerns overweight people have to deal with. There’s nothing wrong with giving your pet a few TidNips treats now and then, especially when training, but we need to understand the importance of exercise and maintaining a proper and healthy weight for our pets just as much as we do with our own weight. An obese pet is no laughing matter.

It’s not as easy as you might think to help your dog or cat lose weight. Let’s face it, cats spend a good deal of their time sleeping, which is normal for them. Trying to get a cat motivated to exercise will mean you need to play with her. You have to be careful, however, and not allow her to lose weight too quickly because cats can easily develop a very serious disease called Fatty Liver Disease that’s hard to treat and can be life threatening. The cause is unknown, but obesity is suspected to play a role.

One out of every four dogs and cats are overweight. Here’s a simple way to help you determine if your pet is too heavy. Rub your hand down along your pet’s side, under the hair. If you can feel their ribs, they aren’t overweight. However, if you can’t feel their ribs it’s time to consider a weight loss program, but only after your vet has had a chance to give them a checkup. Weight issues in dogs can be associated with Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism. A checkup is a must to make sure your pet is healthy enough for an increase in exercise and to discuss a proper feeding schedule.

Overweight dogs and cats don’t deserve lower quality ingredients to lose weight; they simply need your help in providing them with the proper amount of high quality food. If you’re already feeding your pet CANIDAE or FELIDAE, you know the benefits of providing a well balanced, natural and healthy diet. Pets that eat a premium quality food like CANIDAE or FELIDAE don’t have to eat as much in order to feel full. Along with proper exercise, a high quality food can help keep your pet at their recommended weight.

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Tips to Help a Senior Pet Stay Active

By Linda Cole

I have several dogs that are getting along in years. They move slower and are more content to sleep away the hours, but a lack of exercise and stimulation isn’t a healthy way for them to spend their senior years. Older pets can develop arthritis and other joint related problems that may keep them from enjoying activities, but it’s still important to keep them as active as possible. If you have a senior pet, here are some tips to help them stay active.

By the time a pet turns a year old, they are already a teenager in human years. The senior years for small dogs 20 pounds or less begin at the age of 7 to 9, and larger dogs are considered seniors at 6 to 7 years. Cats are actually living longer because of advances in veterinary medicine. An indoor cat can easily live up to 18 years or longer and are considered senior at around 9 years. Outdoor cats have shorter life spans, around 4 to 5 years.

How to Keep Senior Dogs Active

As dogs age, they may not be able to keep up a rigorous exercise schedule. That doesn’t mean you have to stop running, biking, hiking or any other activity you enjoy doing with your dog, but it does mean you may need to slow things down for your senior dog’s sake. Swimming and slower walks for senior dogs, especially one with arthritis, keep their muscles strong. Exercise helps keep joints limber, keeps their bowels functioning normally, digestive system working and helps your dog maintain a healthy body weight.

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Roadrunner, from Lonely Stray to Long Distance Running Cat

By Julia Williams

It’s not uncommon to see runners out getting their daily endorphin fix with a four-legged friend by their side. In fact, lots of dogs love to run…but a long distance running cat? Now that’s a different “tail” altogether! Oh sure, there are plenty of sprinting cats including my own, who make a mad dash from the couch to the kitchen every time I get out the FELIDAE cat food or TidNips treats. Heck, my nom-obsessed kitties sprint into the kitchen when it merely looks like I might be heading in that direction. Take away the incentive of food, and I’m pretty sure they’d stay in their semi-comatose position on the couch.

Roadrunner is a long-distance running cat who not only enjoys going for a daily run with her owner, she also has her own personal trainer who is helping her become the fittest feline athlete in the country! That’s because Roadrunner’s owner is Michael Greenblatt, a fitness instructor from West Long Branch, New Jersey. Greenblatt has worked with celebrities and Olympians, but never a cat—that is, until a stray black kitten decided to join him on his run one day, back in 2008.

At first, the kitten cautiously watched from afar as Greenblatt took off for his morning run. About a month later, the kitten approached him and rubbed up against his leg while he stretched. Incredibly, the kitten began running alongside him and kept pace with him as he ran through the neighborhood. Greenblatt was astonished by the running kitten, and even more so when she began waiting on his doorstep every morning at 5:30, ready and willing to run with him.

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Dealing with Spring Fever in Female Dogs

“Bear” helps in the garden by guarding the shovel

By Suzanne Alicie

Okay, so I don’t know if it’s actually spring fever but when springtime rolls around my female dogs have always acted out just a bit. When we had two dogs they would do a bit of sparring and some territorial behavior. This was funny to watch as the younger dog suddenly gained confidence and a bit of cockiness and shoved her mom around. After several weeks they returned to normal.

This spring fever behavior didn’t coincide with them going into heat or beginning their cycle, so I just chalked it up to being similar to the way I react to spring. When the days begin to warm and the sun is shining, flowers are blooming and pollen fills the air I feel rejuvenated and alive after a long winter.  I suppose if I were a dog, I might get just a bit pushy too!

Now that I only have the younger female dog, she seems to have turned her spring fever towards me as the only other female in the house. Bear has always been an odd duck; she didn’t socialize well when she was a puppy and still seems to have the puppy mentality even though she weighs 50 pounds and is just over seven years old. She sleeps under the bed, and she generally thinks she’s either a lap dog or a person. But when spring fever hits, she’s downright ornery!

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Spring Canine Care for Responsible Pet Owners

By Suzanne Alicie

Your canine friend is probably looking forward to warmer days as much as you are. He’s eager for longer walks and romping in the yard, visits to the dog park and the great outdoors. However, now that spring has arrived, there are some matters of canine care you should undertake as a responsible pet owner.

A vet checkup in the spring is always a good idea. You will get a general overview of your dog’s health and can also make sure he’s up to date on all his shots. By aligning these visits with the changing of the season, you are making it a routine that you will remember to keep up with.

Check your dog’s toys, leash, collar, harness and other equipment for signs of wear and tear. All of these things can present a danger to your dog when they break. Whether that means a loose dog running around the neighborhood or a choking hazard from a destroyed toy, either one is a problem for you and your pet. Make sure that everything is in good condition.

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