This Is How Dog Owners Can Help Their Pup Get Fit
Humans aren’t the only ones fighting obesity statistics in America. Statistics suggest that a third of dogs are also obese — approximately a 158-percent increase over the past 11 years. Sedentary lifestyle, health issues, and poor nutrition are among the top reasons for weight issues in pets. Whether your vet indicated that it’s time to put Fido on a routine or you’ve noticed the doggie door is no longer an option, your dog’s health is contingent on dropping some pounds and staying fit.
Even so, you can’t push your pooch into a shocking lifestyle change or (like those of the human race), as they could end up compromising their health even further. Some tips for the immersion process include taking your dog to a vet to ensure it’s not suffering from osteoarthritis, dysplasia, or other conditions that could worsen with physical activity; not exercising your pooch for more than 20 minutes at a time so as not to promote overexertion; being mindful of painful calluses on paw pads; being aware that a successful plan is a gradual one met with praise; and never forcing your dog to be active for long periods of time if they are not up for it. With that being said, this is how you should transition your dog into a routine that works for both of you.
Take Longer Walks
One of the easiest ways you can start to incorporate additional exercise is by extending the walk time you share with your dog. While the process may seem rudimentary, the ideal walking program encompasses two to three walks a day for approximately 20 to 30 minutes each. Never let them pull on the lead nor allow them to stiff. Rather, play with them and encourage movement by showing affection when they exhibit good behavior. Make the experience more comfortable for both of you by choosing a leash that’s comfortable for your dog and easy for you to use.
Enhance Backyard Time
In lieu of opening the backdoor and letting your dog run free on its own, take advantage of your own green space by building a dog run. Obviously, you may need to adapt the size and location, and you need to make sure your hound has some shade and privacy. Aside from tossing the Frisbee around, you may not know that dogs tend to be stimulated by water, whether that means a mini stream or pond, sprinkler system, or a pre-existing swimming pool — just make sure you don’t let your pet frolic around deep water without your supervision. Also, it’s important that you remember to keep caustic substances and dangerous implements (think gardening, barbecue, and home tools) safely locked up and out of harm’s way.
Sign Up For Agility Training
Not only is agility training like cardio boot camp for dogs, but it also helps your furry friend build confidence, gain self-control, learn the basics of behavior (and how to follow the cues of its owner), and build bodily awareness. Extra points for being an excellent bonding activity between the two of you!
Revamp Their Diet
Diet and exercise go paw-in-paw, so speak to your vet about tweaking your pooch’s eating regimen to support a healthy age- and size-appropriate weight-loss plan. If you’re changing the type of food you’re feeding your dog, ease into it by mixing some of the old food with the new, gradually tweaking the ratio until you make the complete transition. Track your dog’s progress by weighing it at least once a month, and make petting and playtime a form of positive reinforcement in lieu of copious treats.
An added bonus to helping your dog get fit is that you’ll be fit in the process. While it may seem logical, studies indicate that dog owners are more fit than those who don’t have a pooch due to the fact that regular walks and activity are a part of normal life. So, lace up those sneakers and attach that leash to your canine, and do something good for the both of you.