Health Risks of Poor Pet Exercise

Heartworm Prevention

Top among the reasons you get a pet is to spend time together. But, you want to have something more than just feeding it and cuddling on the couch. Exercising together offers an excellent opportunity to bond. And, the benefits of exercise are as important for your dog as they are for you.

Exercising helps in maintaining your pet’s mental and physical well-being. By encouraging and initiating exercise, you help your dog evade many health risks.

Some of the risks include the following:


Obesity is a significant health concern for pets in America today. Experts estimate that 40 percent of the dog's veterinarians in America see are overweight and clinically obese. Obesity makes it difficult for your pet to take part in or enjoy physical activities. It decreases the pet’s stamina and speed. Obesity also creates other medical issues like arthritis by overburdening the pet’s joints. Your pet could also develop back problems, difficulty breathing, skin problems, and cardiac problems. It also has an increased risk of developing cancers.

Besides threatening your pet’s physical wellness, obesity also causes behavioral issues. For example, dogs, descended from wolves, are genetically adapted to constant physical activity in the search for food. But, without exercise, the dogs become frustrated and bored. They exhibit this through barking, hyperactivity, tail chasing, and digging.

Weakens the Pet’s Immunity

Your pet needs a healthy and properly functioning immune system that can kill bacteria, eliminate viruses, and break down toxins. Diet is critical to building your pet’s immunity, but so is exercise. Most pet owners get their pets to exercise regularly. But, many of them only take their pets for a walk around the block and return home.

Pets need to exercise thoroughly by running and playing. Know that many of them will not initiate this kind of exercise; you will need to be the coach. Exercise builds its physical health and immunity. Also, playing and interacting with your pet is in itself therapeutic. It minimizes the pet’s stress, which helps to keep its immunity up.

Although exercising your dog is easy, it might prove impossible to exercise with your cat. So, provide the cat with lots of toys or another cat to play with and keep healthy.


Your pet can get depressed. Exercise causes the pet’s body to produce endorphins that keep the pet happy. Endorphins are known to stimulate feelings of happiness and bliss. If your pet looks fatigued, withdrawn, and uninterested in an activity it usually jumps at, it could be depressing. The pet could be low on physical activity.

Atrophy of Muscles

When dogs fail to use their muscles over time, they develop atrophy of muscles. This is simply muscle loss or the wasting away of muscles. Although illness and aging also cause atrophy, lack of exercise is the primary cause.

Dogs confined in cages and those that do not exercise much do not develop or tone their muscles. Disuse causes their muscles to begin to atrophy. When this happens, your dog’s limbs can no longer support its weight. You may notice a progressive weakening of the dog’s rear limbs. The dog may also start crossing its legs when walking or standing.

Boosts the Health of Your Pet’s Digestive System

A sedentary lifestyle leads to many digestive disorders like bloating, constipation, and gas. But, regular physical activity prevents these problems. It stimulates the gut and increases intestinal activity. More blood pumps to your gut muscles, keeping its contents moving. Food passes through quicker, even during times of inactivity.

Exercise boosts your pet’s mental health, immunity, digestive activity, and ensures muscle strength. To check your pet’s health or develop an exercise regime, visit the Chaparral Veterinary Medical Center in Cave Creek, Arizona. You can also call us at 480-595-8600 to request an appointment.