More than 60 percent of the American adult population is considered overweight or obese and nearly 50 percent of America’s dog population is considered overweight or obese. Coincidence?
Before receiving gastric bypass or lap band surgery, patients know what it’s like to struggle with obesity’s debilitating side-effects day after day. Much like you made the choice to end your struggles with the help of weight loss surgery; it’s a pet owner’s responsibility to make sure your dog doesn’t suffer from weight gain issues.
Labrador retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Long-haired dachshunds and beagles are at a particular risk of packing on excess weight and becoming obese. Exercise is essential for long term weight loss not only for you, but your dog too.
Here are some exercises to help you and your four-legged friend get some daily physical activity.
- Walk Together – Taking the time to walk with your dog is beneficial for both of you. Walking helps lower blood pressure, increase energy and strengthen the heart and bones. As with any exercise, if it’s been a while make sure to start off walking slowly and for short distances. Only make gradual increases with speed and distance as you both progress.
- Jog Together – If your breed of dog is built for distance-running, such as the Labrador, take him or her for a jog if they’re in good enough health. Make sure to take five minutes before and after your jog for a warm up and cool down. Remember that dog’s cannot sweat like humans do, so if it is really hot outside then it may be a better idea to find a different activity.
- Swim Together – Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for both you and your pet. Swimming in water provides your body with resistance and allows you to move in ways you’re otherwise not able to on land. Swimming is especially beneficial for dogs and owners who suffer from arthritis as swimming is a low-impact sport that relieves pressure on joints. As with any new exercise, start slowly and work with your pet as both of you adjust to working out in the water.
- Play Together – Bond with your pet while both of you burn some calories by incorporating a Frisbee during playtime. Playing Frisbee with your dog is an excellent way to get some exercise in while learning and playing with each other outside. You may even consider joining a formal team which could make for greater motivation for you and your pet to practice.
- Hike Together – Hiking provides the ultimate adventure for both you and your pet as you spend the day exploring. Similar to walking, in order to get in a good workout you will want to hike at a brisk enough pace that elevates the heart rate. Dallas and Ft. Worth areas have plenty of outside parks for you and your pet to enjoy the day, but remember to safeguard each other as many trail environments are home to ticks which can carry harmful diseases.
Before beginning any new exercise, just as you would consult Dr. Stewart, take your dog to their veterinarian for an evaluation to make sure he or she is healthy enough for activity.