Getting into shape is a common New Year’s goal for people and their pets. With over 50% of pets overweight, getting into shape is good goal. So, what can you do to help you get your dog into shape?
Playing with dogs can seem like a no brainer. A great calorie burning activity is fetch. Tossing the ball around gets your dog running and engaging many muscles. For a little more oomph in your fetch game, use a ChuckIt, which launches balls much farther than a person can throw them.
Going for walks, hikes or runs is a great way to get your pup (and yourself) active. For overweight or out of shape dogs, start slow. Start with a slow 5-10 minute walk, then increase the speed and duration of your walks over a few weeks. Always bring water for your dog and read his body language to see when he is tired. Once your dog is in shape (and possibly with vet approval) start going for runs or long hikes.
In conjunction with exercise, reducing the calories your dog eats is key to him or her losing weight. Reducing calories can mean switching to a low calorie food or simply reducing the amount of food your dog gets. Start by cutting out excess calories, like lots of wet food or treats. Try feeding your dog healthy treats like freeze dried liver (available at the pet store) or pet friendly fruits and veggies (like watermelon and carrots). As an alternative to wet food try a small amount of boiled chicken. You can also add veggies to your pet’s dry food to add some extra bulk and fiber. This can help make the transition to a lower amount of food easier. Steamed string beans and carrots are great to add to your dog’s food.
Every pet parent wants their dog to stay happy and healthy! Getting your pup into shape helps keep your pet healthy and might even help you get healthier too.