By Emily Ridgwell, Guest Blogger

There’s no doubt that we love our animals – in fact, so many of us think of them as family – but too often we overindulge them as a way of showing love. A growing number of pets are paying the price for this love by being overfed, over pampered and not given the exercise they need to stay healthy. While we love them with all of our hearts, we may be “killing them with kindness” when it comes to excessive treats and inactivity.

As you can see in this infographic, sometimes as pet owners we fall short of giving our beloved animals the exercise they need in their daily lives. Statistics show that only about 23% of dog owners walk their dogs each and every day. But as long as they’re walking their dogs, does skipping a day here and there really make a difference?

At-risk behaviors for animals

Cats who live indoors get little or no exercise. While indoors is by far the safest place for them to reside, it may leave them at a loss when it comes to regular activity. For both dogs and cats, a lack of exercise can put them at increased risk of becoming overweight or obese which could lead to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and a decreased lifespan.

But other issues associated with a lack of mobility and a possible increase in weight can also result in behavioral problems, such as:

  • Destructive tendencies, chewing, scratching and/or digging up their surroundings
  • Aggressive behavior towards other animals, children or unsuspecting bystanders
  • Hyperactivity and/or increased stimuli with common interaction
  • Restless at night and keeping the household awake

Always check with your vet before altering your pet’s exercise regime – but they’ll likely agree that a more active lifestyle is best for everyone involved.

Learn more about pet health, including how to keep your pet at a healthy weight, in our Resource Library.

___

Emily Ridgewell is an arts professional and a pet enthusiast from sunny LA. Emily has a creative energy and an aesthetic sense of living, where everything beautiful is worth sharing. She loves her yorkie Olivia and writes original and fun articles on ways to learn and improve your pet-best friend’s life. She finds exciting new things to explore and experience! Don’t forget to connect with her in Twitter: @ridgewell_j