Have you ever heard the saying, “If your dog is overweight, you’re not getting enough exercise?” A major study by British veterinary charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) shows that 48 percent of companion animals aren’t cared for as well as they should be. Two of the major problems identified were that animals are often left alone too long and that dogs are fed improper diets.
In my home, my husband and I don’t get a chance to wonder if our dog gets enough exercise and attention. Our German shepherd mix is famous for shoving her head between us and a laptop, book, or newspaper—basically saying, “Ahem! Excuse me, but I’m ready for attention now.” For people whose animals aren’t so forthright, PETA has some basic guidelines for companion-animal health and happiness.
We should exercise and play with our companion animals every day. For people who have to be at work all day, there are several ways to make sure dogs get exercise and potty breaks, such as installing a doggie door (if your yard is secure and surrounded by a privacy fence, of course), going home for lunch, or having a dog walker stop by. Most animals love treats, but it’s important not to go overboard—obesity can drastically shorten animals’ lives, just as it does humans’. And, of course, the main thing that animals want is the same thing that we want with our loved ones: good old quality time.