Animal Ark Pet Hospital

3024 W. 12th St
Erie , PA 16505


January is National Walk Your Pet Month

Not spending enough quality time with your pet? It's a bad habit that most of us fall into, but it can be easily remedied!

Guidelines to increasing your dog's physical activity

Though exercise needs are based on a dog's age, breed, size and overall health, most dogs should be able to walk 20-30 minutes every day. 

These 20-30 minutes should contain focused, consistent activity - don't include prolonged sniffing around or breaks in the walk.

Arthritic, debilitated or senior dogs still need their exercise; they may need to walk more frequently and for shorter durations. 

On the opposite end, active dogs may need more than 30 minutes.

Avoid "weekend only" activity

Get motivated! Don't stress about an intimidating routine * Entice your pet using new or favorite toys * Try a new route or park * Set up play dates

Cats don't usually want to walk on a leash so we have some alternate forms of exercise for you and your cat.

Try a cat tower. The multi-tiered towers sold online and in pet stores are another good way to ensure that your cat will have plenty of places to play and areas to climb for a good workout. Try placing small treats in different parts of the tower to encourage climbing and playing.

Keep plenty of toys around. Because cats tend to keep to themselves much more than dogs, the best strategy for cat workouts is to give them plenty of options in the form of toys. These don't have to be expensive toys from the pet store, you can use everyday household objects as toys to encourage cats to exercise. Think ping-pong balls or balled -up pipe cleaners.

Create a hockey rink. To make things even more interactive and fun, put a ball in a large cardboard box or the bathtub to create an instant "hockey rink" for your cat. As the ball goes flying off the walls (and the cat goes flying after it), you'll get some laughs and your cat will get some much-needed exercise.

Give your cat a wand. Get one of the flexible wand-style toys with a feather, mouse, or other diversion on the far end. Interactive play with a wand or fishing-pole type toy is fabulous exercise, usually quite funny, and extremely satisfying for the big hunter in your cat. You can make it more challenging by running the toy up and over the sofa or up and down stairs to increase the exercise intensity.

If your cat is extremely energetic and agile, try some cat agility exercises. You may be more familiar with these challenges for dogs, but cats can also enjoy this mix of speed and challenge. These programs include a number of obstacles, such as bars to jump over or tunnels to pass through, which push your cat both physically and mentally. You can find some great ideas at

A Big Issue

Most pets are overweight. Exercise tones muscle and kick-starts the metabolism. Dogs and cats can easily become obese if they do not utilize the calories they take in during the day.

In addition to increasing physical activity, pay attention and take note of what your pet eats. If your dog is not within a healthy weight range, decrease their food by 1/4 of the amount.

If you have concerns about what your pet is capable of let us know!