Overweight Dogs

Get Moving: Daily exercise is one of the keys to your dog’s health. Just walking or playing fetch each day can help keep your dog fit.

 Man’s best friend is battling one of man’s worst enemies – obesity. Like people, overweight dogs are at risk for health problems, from arthritis to heart disease. This is one challenge you and your pet can face together. Research suggests people who exercise with their dogs are more likely to stick to a fitness program. The key is finding activities you both enjoy.

When making your dog your exercise buddy, step one is a trip to the vet. Your vet can evaluate your dog for any heart, lung, or other health problems.  It’s also important to check for signs of arthritis or musculoskeletal disease. A dog with inflamed joints or ligaments may require a low-impact exercise plan.

Develop a workout routine that’s realistic, consider your work schedule and other demands on your time. Also consider your dog’s needs — working breeds and young dogs need alot of exercise. Start with a short-term goal of exercising just 5-10 minutes per day. Gradually work up to 30 minutes on most days of the week. Keep in mind that deep-chested breeds, such as Great Danes or Dobermans, should not exercise right after meals.

Dog Park – To offer a chance for off-leash play, find a local dog park. Off-leash running and playing lets your dog set his own pace, so he can burn energy, then rest when he’s tired. Other perks include the chance to socialise and the mental stimulation that comes with unfettered exploration. Dog owners also get a workout trying to keep up with their pets. It’s a good idea to complete some obedience training before allowing your dog off-leash.

Agility Training – is another popular goal-oriented sport. Your dog races through an obstacle course with ladders, hurdles and tunnels, while you run alongside offering praise and encouragement. The fast pace provides both of you with an excellent cardiovascular workout, while your dog also develops improved coordination.

Swimming – is an all-in-one workout that is especially beneficial for people or dogs with arthritis. Because it’s a low-impact sport, swimming is easy on the joints. But that doesn’t mean it’s a wimpy workout. Swimming works various muscle groups, improves endurance, and strengthens the heart and lungs. Not all dogs enjoy swimming, so start slowly. Use toys or treats for encouragement, and if your dog still resists, find another sport.

Walking – Brisk walking is an ideal exercise for human and hound. The benefits include a stronger heart, lower blood pressure, more energy, denser bones, and a lower risk of depression. In dogs, regular walks can also reduce common behavior problems. There’s no set rule for how far or how long a dog should walk. Just work slowly toward a goal and slowly increase your speed and how far you walk.

Hiking – If your area offers hiking opportunities, you’ve got one lucky dog. Most dogs love to go out and find new smells and see other animals while spending time with their owner. Like walking, you’ll need to keep a brisk enough pace to elevate your heart rate.

Cycling – Like rollerblading, cycling safely with your dog requires special training. Teach your dog to run next to the bicycle without pulling. You may want to attach her leash to your bike with a Springer. (a device that absorbs some of the force of your dog’s tugs). Keep a close eye on your dog’s condition. It’s easy for them to overdo it if they’re running while you’re on wheels.

Jogging – Not all dogs are built to jog. Greyhounds, for example, are pros at short-distance sprinting, but can get tired during long-distance runs. If you want to jog with your dog, choose a breed that is suited to distance-running, such as a Labrador. Wait until your pup is full grown and then gradually build up to a 30-minute excursion. This should include five minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of jogging, and five minutes of cooldown. Remember that dogs can’t sweat, so avoid the hot times of the day and stop if your dog is lagging behind you.

Just because your senior dog moves with a slower, stiffer gait than when he was a pup doesn’t mean he should stop exercising. Senior dogs, especially those with arthritis, not only can exercise – in many cases, they should. Exercise helps increase flexibility and endurance, strengthens muscles around the joints, and can help stave off health problems caused by obesity. Exercise also aids bowel function, which is especially important in older dogs. And, since obesity tends to make arthritis worse, any activity that helps your dog lose weight could ease the symptoms in the long run. Try low-impact exercises, such as swimming and moderate walking, with your old fellow.

  • Check For Excess Weight and Obesity – create a nutrition plan that helps feed your dog to his ideal body condition.
  • Measure Each Serving – don’t just fill up your dog’s bowl at feeding.
  • Limit Treats – be mindful of the quality and quantity of treats you feed each day, especially table scraps – calories can add up quickly.

Like people, dogs are susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion. On hot days, bring a water bottle and foldable drinking bowl or stick to places with a public water source. Signs of dehydration in dogs include excessive panting, confusion, weakness, and collapse. Brachycephalic or short-faced breeds, such as bulldogs and boxers, are especially vulnerable because they don’t pant efficiently.