Pets are an integral part of our lives. They greet you in the morning, wait for you to get home from work, love you no matter how grumpy you are, and most of them even share from our plates (shhh, we won’t tell anyone!).
If you’re the sporty type, you may even have considered playing sports with your pet. Sure, throwing a ball or frisbee around gives them some good exercise, but how can both of you get exercise and enjoy yourselves together?
Playing sports with your pet certainly can be done, provided you put some thought and planning into it. Here’s what we suggest!
Playing Sports With Your Pet: How to Do It
Choose Your Sports Carefully
Your pet won’t be able to take part in all sports with you. Your best bet is to introduce them to sports that are specifically for pets—like cat or dog agility training, scent training, or other pet-specific activities.
You may want to consider your pet here. Breeds who hunt will appreciate a chasing sport. Those that track will enjoy scent games, and so on.
If you want your pet to play human sports with you, you’ll need to be quite careful. Running, hiking, swimming, and even cycling can all be done with your dog in tow, and even some cats may enjoy being carried along on a hike. If you happen to have a horse that’s rideable, a good cross-country canter could be a great activity for both of you.
Be realistic. Taking your pet to the golf course means your dog may fetch all the golf balls or your cat may chase the birds and cause havoc. Choosing the right sport for your pet is important here because they won’t all be able to keep up with human sports!
Prioritize Your Pet’s Safety
Never put your pet in danger. If there are hard balls flying around, your pet could get hit and hurt. If humans are running around haphazardly, throwing your pet in the mix may lead to disaster for both humans and pets!
Whichever sport you choose, make sure it’s safe for your pet to take part in. You know your pet best, so choose something that you know won’t put them in danger or in an uncomfortable position.
Make Sure Your Pet Is Socialized
Before putting your pet in a situation where they’re surrounded by other pets or unfamiliar humans, make sure they’re well-socialized! They should be good with other animals and respectful towards humans before engaging in exercise with them!
If socialization is an issue, you may be better off doing an individual sport, like running together. But if your pet isn’t friendly, make sure that others don’t get in their space.
If playing sports with your pet is something you’d like to do, you certainly can! Just remember, your pet needs to be happy and comfortable taking part in the sport. It may also be a good idea to take them for a vet’s checkup before starting to play sports with them.
If you have a flat-faced dog, be extra careful. They’re prone to overheating after very little exercise! Take care of your pet, but you should notice that playing sports together helps you to bond and that regular exercise improves your health too.