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All pets need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Exercise also helps your pet to maintain a healthy weight.

One in three dogs and one in four cats in the UK is overweight, and this figure is on the rise.

But by introducing a good diet and regular exercise, owners can extend the lives of their pets and help them achieve a healthy weight. And the good news is, it’s usually much easier for a pet to lose weight than a human, so making a few small habit and lifestyle changes can reap big rewards.

How much exercise should my pet be getting?

For dogs, the amount of exercise needed depends on the size, breed and age, but as a general rule of thumb, between 30 to 60 minutes per day is what owners should be aiming for, with less for very small dogs or older dogs and more for young more boisterous larger breeds.

More information on caring for your dog

Cats should play with their toys or owner for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day.

More information on caring for your cat

Rabbits need four hours minimum free ranging exercise a day. A rabbit’s cage or run should allow them to leap along it three times and stand up at full stretch.

More information on caring for your rabbit

What are the benefits of regular exercise?

By ensuring your pet takes sufficient regular exercise, you can cut their risk of a range of health problems including osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Obesity causes both physical and emotional distress and reduces life expectancy, so by increasing exercise levels you can help your pet live a longer and happier life.

Not only does exercise help to maintain a healthy weight, but regular exercise also promotes better sleep patterns and a happy life in general.

Free weight clinics for pets

White Cross Vets offers free weight checks for dogs, cats and rabbits. If you have any concerns about your pet’s weight, pop into your local practice or book an appointment online for a free weight clinic and to discuss the best diet and exercise plan for your pet.

Exercise and weight management advice for pets

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