As the dog days of summer approach, you may notice dogs and cats enjoying a peaceful snooze in the warm rays of the Sun. Since pets don’t have jobs or school to go to, they do seem to have a lot of free time to spend lounging about.

Of course, pets don’t really have hobbies either. With all that free time, you’d think that they might take up knitting or woodworking or even working out. If you’ve ever been to a gym, though, you know you won’t see dogs or cats pumping iron or running on the treadmill.

That would be a funny sight, though, wouldn’t it? Can you imagine walking into a gym and seeing dogs lifting weights or cats jogging? We’re being a bit silly thinking of dogs and cats going to the gym, but we do have a reason. Even though dogs and cats don’t go to the gym, they DO need regular exercise to stay healthy.

Just like human beings, pets that don’t get enough exercise can become overweight. Overweight pets can develop serious health problems just like we can. So, if you have a pet, part of being a good owner is making sure that your pet gets the right amount and kind of exercise.

Before you start your pet on an exercise program, be sure to talk with your veterinarian first. Schedule a check-up for your pet and ask your veterinarian how much and what type of exercise your pet needs.

Just like humans, pets likely will need to be started out slowly. Over time, they will get fit and be able to exercise for longer periods of time. If you exercise alongside your pet, you’ll benefit, too!

Starting out, you might want to play with your pet for 15-20 minutes at a time. Gradually, you can turn those play sessions into several 30-minute walks or jogs each week. If your pet is especially active, you can extend those sessions to an hour or longer.

Of course, some pets, such as cats, may not be easy to take for a walk or a run. These pets still need exercise, though. Don’t underestimate the value of vigorous indoor play, such as games of chase, for these types of pets.

As you start exercising with your pet, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your pet has plenty of water before, during and after exercising. Just like you, pets need plenty of water.
  • If you have older pets, don’t push them as hard. Just like humans, older pets can’t exercise as vigorously as younger ones.
  • Watch the heat! Exercising with your pet will be best early in the morning or later in the day. Most pets have plenty of fur that keeps them warm. In the heat of the day, exercise can put a strain on them since they usually can’t eliminate excess heat as easily as humans can.

67 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (20 votes, avg. 4.35 out of 5)
    • Hello there, Nasa! Thank you so much for visiting today’s Wonder of the Day®! We appreciate you sharing this AWESOME comment with us and we’re glad you like exploring Wonderopolis! :-)

    • You sure were, Wonder Girl! Way to go! Thanks so much for stopping by today’s Wonder to see if yesterday’s guess was correct and also to learn some cool new information about pet exercise with us! :-)

  1. I think this was an epic wonder. I think tomorrow’s wonder is going to be about peanut butter jelly time. See you later. Bye.

    • Hey there, Austin! It’s great to hear from you today! Thanks for letting us know what you think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about! :-)

    • We think that cute dog likes to run a LOT, Jenna! We thought it was neat how he kept jumping on the treadmill and going for a jog! We also think his owner knows how important exercise is for pets! :-)

    • Thanks for visiting this Wonder and leaving us a SUPER comment, “A!” We think it’s cool that you and Nasa both think tomorrow’s Wonder is about something to eat! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis tomorrow to see what we will all be WONDERing about! :-)

  2. We really liked today’s wonder. The video was funny and cute. We talked about other types of pets and the exercise that they need. We talked about frogs and hamsters and even exercising hermit crabs. One of our students even taught their dog how to dance!
    We think tomorrow might be about peanut butter sandwiches. (Our teacher LOVES peanut butter!!!)

    • It makes us REALLY happy to hear that you guys did some extra WONDERing about pet exercise after you explored today’s Wonder of the Day® together, Mrs. Genkin’s Class! We like how you talked about other animals and how they might exercise, too! It’s SUPER AWESOME that one of your classmates taught his or her dog to dance!

      Thanks for letting us know you think tomorrow’s Wonder might be about peanut butter sandwiches…that makes us hungry for lunch! :-)

    • We like that guess a lot, Rahul! There have been LOTS of great food-related guesses from Wonder Friends (like YOU!) about tomorrow’s Wonder…we are getting excited to think that we might be learning fun new things about something YUMMY! We hope so! :-)

  3. We hope you had a great Memorial Day! We loved the video today and thought it was funny. Most of us have seen people walking strange animals like a cat, skunk, or bearded dragon. Some of us wish we could put a cat or dog on a treadmill, but a turtle would move far too slowly. How do you get exercise for a bird? We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about: sandwiches, pizza, tacos, or ice cream. We’ll find out tomorrow!

    • All those delicious guesses about tomorrow’s Wonder are making us want to eat lunch a little early here in Wonderopolis today, Mr. Draper’s Class! Food-focused Wonders are always a favorite! Thanks for sharing that you guys liked the video for today’s Wonder. We’ll have to do some more WONDERing about bird exercise…that’s something we haven’t thought about before!

      We DID have a GREAT Memorial Day and we hope you guys did, too! We’re SO PROUD to count you all as Wonder Friends! :-)

  4. My cat is SOOO hyper once she ran up the stairs and jumped on my other sleeping cat and ran back down stairs. It was funny.

    • Thanks for sharing that funny story about your cat, Zac! It sounds like she gets plenty of exercise on her own! :-)

    • We thought it was super cute, too, Mrs. Schrader’s Switch Class! We have heard about bulldogs that can skateboard before, but the treadmill thing was something new for us to learn about! We liked how the dog kept barking while he was exercising, too…he was one happy K9! :-)

    • YUM! Those all sound AWESOME, Mrs. Schrader’s Switch Class! Thanks for sharing your favorite foods to eat for lunch! We can’t wait to visit tomorrow’s Wonder to see what lunchtime favorite we’ll all be WONDERing about! :-)

  5. We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about how pizzas are made or which lunch is a favorite of children.

    We’re going to play chase with our pets tonight! :)

    • That sounds like a WONDERful way for both Wonder Friend AND pet to get some exercise while having FUN, Miss Kirsten’s Kindergarten GT Class! We like that idea a lot! Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us today and also for leaving us GREAT comments whenever you visit! You guys are AWESOME! :-)

    • That’s a good question, Mrs. Foster’s Class! We know some Wonder Pets that LOVE to exercise, and would probably enjoy a 2-hour walk with their owners! If your dog is normally very physically active, and as long as you take lots of water breaks, we think you probably could walk a dog for that long! It would be best to check with your vet first, though, before you make that big of an exercise commitment with your dog to make sure the vet thinks he or she is healthy enough for such a long walk! :-)

  6. We love Wonderopolis! It was really funny when the dog was running on the treadmill and pawing at the treadmill. We feel that it is important as pet owners to provide lots of time for your pet to exercise. We cannot wait to see what tomorrow’s wonder is….

    Thank you for this amazing site!

    Your fourth grade friends at Tatanka Elementary School in Buffalo, Minnesota!

    • We’re so happy you guys stopped by to learn about pet exercise with us today, Mrs. Ouverson’s Fourth Grade Class! We love meeting new Wonder Friends…we think it’s super cool that you guys live in Minnesota! Thanks for sharing what you liked about today’s Wonder of the Day® and the funny video! :-)

  7. Ha, ha. I think that was really funny! Guess what? I’ve been on Wonderopolis since Friday and learned lots of stuff. I think wonderopolis rocks!

    • We think your comment ROCKS, AJ! We appreciate you sharing that you’ve been hanging out and learning with us since Friday…that’s AWESOME! Have a WONDERful rest of the day! :-)

  8. Why was the dog on the treadmill? (Josie)

    That video was funny because the dog was on a treadmill. (Jarett)

    • Happy Tuesday, KF Dragons friends! It’s GREAT to get a comment from you guys today! We have been singing “Won’t you Wonderopolis today?” a LOT! It’s a catchy tune performed by some of our favorite Wonder Friends on the whole, entire planet…YOU GUYS!

      We think the dog just likes to run and exercise a lot, and the treadmill is a great way for him to do that, Josie! Thanks for sharing that you thought the video was funny, too, Jarett! We love getting comments from you and your classmates! :-)

    • Hi, Caelah! We’re glad you liked today’s Wonder! Thanks for leaving us a comment today to tell us so! :-)

  9. I loved the video it was far out funny!!! I wish I could get my cat on a treadmill, but I think she likes her back flips better. She is an amazing cat.

    • She sounds like an amazing cat, Lexi! Thanks for sharing about her with us! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

    HOW DID THE DOG DO THAT?????????????????????
    I WONDER…………………………….

    • We WONDER that, too, Rachel! Maybe he just jumped on and started running one day? We agree that it was a funny video! We enjoyed watching that dog getting exercise on the treadmill! :-)

  11. I put my doggy Sally on the treadmill once and she burned 84 colories, ha! I was only 7 though! I love today’s wonder, though!

    • We remember hearing about that story before, Betsy! We think it’s GREAT that you tried to get your dog to exercise in such a creative way! Thank you for visiting this Wonder of the Day® and letting us know you liked it! :-)

  12. I think that today’s wonder was GREAT! I love it. I comment every day. Those are great. I think tomorrow’s wonder is about sandwiches. I am going to sign up for karate with my brother my cousin and aunt!

    • Hello, Nikki! Thanks so much for letting us know you thought this Wonder was great! We appreciate hearing that! We think it’s SUPER COOL that you are signing up for karate with your family! That’s a great way to have fun and exercise together! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the video for this Wonder of the Day®, Anonymous! We appreciate your comment! :-)

    • We think Shadow is a WONDERful name for a cat, Lexi! Is she gray or black like a real shadow? Is that how she got her name? We DO remember your sister telling us about your giant goldfish named Goldy/Godzilla! Please tell Andrya we said, “hello!” We think it ROCKS that you BOTH like learning new things in Wonderopolis! :-)

  13. Hey Wonderpolis,

    If you could have any pet, what would it be?

    Mine would be an owl for sure, sometimes I wish I played a role in harry potter so I could spend some time with those cute critters!

    • You’re right, Earthling Alice! There sure were a lot of cute creatures in the Harry Potter movies (some scary ones, too!). We like so many different types of pets! It would be super difficult to choose just one! We like cats, dogs, hamsters, fish, reptiles, birds…there are so many wonderful animals in the world! :-)

    • We are glad you enjoyed learning about ways that pets can exercise, Wonder Friend! Sometimes, pets like to work out like humans do– with a nice jog on the treadmill! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :)

  14. Hi I am last one. :( Anyways I thought it was hilarious! And can you check the “How to train your dolphin” I replied yesterday. :) 😉

    • Hey there Monkey Geek! We’re glad you thought our pets Wonder was a funny one! We also hope you check out the dolphin Wonder… there’s a response waiting for you! :)

  15. Wonderopolis,
    It would be funny to walk into a gym like the YMCA or the rec center in Lancaster and see a bunch of cats and dogs and pets.
    I never knew that pets should work out!
    Do pets need diets?

    • That’s quite a site to imagine, Wonder Friend Julianne! Thank you for sharing your cool idea about pets who exercise! We think it would be quite a treat to walk into the YMCA and see pets pumpin’ iron! :)

      Pets, as well as people, do need to maintain healthy and balanced diets! That way, we all have enough energy to keep us going… and WONDERing! :)

  16. Dear wonderopolis I have a dog her name is popcorn. She likes to run around the whole house. She is very fast!! That is how my dog exercises.

  17. Dear wonderopolis ,
    I would like to know if cats need exercise.
    But I also already have the answer its YES cats do need exercise like all other animals. I have a cat his name is Oliver and he gets a ton of exercise each day! I also would really want to know if birds need exercise too I would mostly like to hear about pigeons and bluebirds.


  18. Dear wonderopolis: I love the video it was cute and funny. Yes dogs do need exercise. I have a dog I take her for a walk every day.

    • Well thank you so much, Chloe! We are glad you visited today and we look forward to WONDERing with you again soon! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  •  Do pets need exercise?
  • Can play be a good form of exercise?
  • When is the best time of day to exercise your pet?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to exercise with your pet? Of course, exactly what kinds of exercises you can do will depend upon what kind of pet you have. But here are some fun ideas that you can use to exercise with some of the most common types of pets:

  • Go for a walk! Many types of pets, especially dogs, love to go for a walk. In fact, they might prefer to go for a run instead.
  • Play fetch! Dogs, especially retrievers, love to fetch sticks and balls. Head out to the backyard and grab a few sticks or small balls. Have fun tossing them around. Can you teach your dog to deliver the stick or the ball to you, so you can throw it again?
  • Play with animal toys inside. Small pets, like cats, often prefer to play indoors. Have you ever used a cat toy filled with catnip to have fun with your feline friends?

Do you know of other fun ways to play with your pets? Share your ideas with us by posting on Facebook. You can even upload a picture of you playing with your pet!

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ Exercise and Nutrition collection of resources to help you learn about various aspects of obesity, healthy eating and exercise.

Wonder Categories/Tags



animals  cat  dog  exercise  health  overweight  pet  play 

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