By Dr. Kim Bloomer, Co-founder of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy
Dr. Jeannie began this series on the laws of health last week on nutrition. The second law of health is Exercise. In this day and age more than probably at any other time in history this law is one of the most underutilized and yet very needed to maintain wellness in our animals. In nature animals are always on the move. Every animal society whether they live a solitary life except during breeding season or in prides, herds, troupes, packs, flocks, etc., they are constantly on the move. It’s not a focused type exercise as we have to improvise with in domesticity but rather natural movement in seeking food, new terrain, interacting, and so on. Their lives are one of movement.
In domesticity it is our responsibility to provide our animals the opportunity to “move” on a daily basis. Leaving them in confinement is contrary to the nature of most if not all species. I think most of the dogs that spend so much time barking during the day in my neighborhood is from the complete lack of targeted exercise they receive.
Exercise is essential to:
- reduce stress and anxiety thereby reducing behavioral issues;
- maintain muscle and skeletal strength;
- for mental and emotional stimulation;
- enhance and support the immune system
For me it is also a very special focused time I spend with my dog. As I go out to walk and run with one of my dogs daily (my husband takes our other dog as they walk but don’t run), it is our “alone and bonding time” together. It is one of my favorite times of the day to just be with her in nature. I love watching her sniff and investigate, mark and sample things in nature. We have a routine and she knows when it is “her” time to do all of that and when it is time to move on and get busy with our exercise.
The side benefit is that we also receive exercise on a regular basis when we are engaged with our animals this way. My dogs keep me on a routine that doesn’t allow for much variation as they don’t see this as an obligation. Rather, they are overly excited each day to engage in this law of health. The byproduct of our dedication is happy and calm dogs.
Photo Attribution: Meshach the Great Dane by Dr. Kim Bloomer, Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.