If you’re like most people, you’ve resolved to get fit and lose a few pounds with the start of the New Year. After all, it’s one of the most popular resolutions for the New Year time and again.
This year, forget hiring a personal trainer or hitting the gym (which is always crowded at the start of the year anyway), you’ve got your own motivating trainer at home – your dog! And more than not, your dog will benefit from the increased activity too. According to Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 45 percent of dogs are overweight or obese (at least 20 percent above ideal weight), and that extra weight has all kinds of adverse effects on your dog’s health. And just like people, exercise along with changes to your dog’s diet will lead to weight loss.
What are the benefits of exercising with your dog? The first is obvious, most dogs are beyond eager to spend time outdoors exercising, and they’ll love spending the time with you! Second, a groundbreaking study, People and Pets Exercising Together (PPET) led by Dr. Robert Kushner, revealed that people and pets can lose weight together and a companion dog makes an excellent and dependable workout partner. Lastly, the time you spend with your dog will strengthen your bond, improve your dog’s health, and you’ll have fun together.
Get started on the right foot (and paw) with these tips and resources for getting fit with your dog. If you or your dog is new to exercising or taking it up a notch in duration and intensity, contact your doctor and/or vet before you begin and be sure to start slowly. Good luck!
Take a Hike
Your dog loves his daily walks and outings to the dog park, but try something new — hit the hiking trails! Enjoy the great outdoors and wide open spaces of your local state parks and national forests as you watch your dog’s excitement in exploring new locales. Seek out dog-friendly trails at hikewithyourdog.com, and search by state for a listing of over 2,000 parks that welcome dogs in the US and Canada and find links to State Parks and National Forests with dog-friendly trails.
Get active with fun exercises you can do with your dog from celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson. Check out Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s PetFit Challenge Exercise Tips for video instructions for Power Dog Walks with Intervals, Fetch Races, Dog Squat Tease. Dog Tag and more. You and your dog will burn off lunch while having a blast.
Walk for Weight Loss
From the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), download the pdf “Walking Your Dog for Weight Loss,” which offers tips for an aerobic dog-walking program.
Be Safe and Seen
Don’t let the short winter days keep you from getting outside with your dog. Walk and play in the evening’s darkness with snazzy nighttime dog gear and toys; see Woof Report’s handpicked products to keep your dog safe and seen.
Pump Up Your Walk
Step up your workout when you walk your dog using a Retractable Leash with Weights. The set of soft foam handled 2-pound dumbbells has a built-in retractable 16′ leash on one dumbbell and a zippered nylon pouch on the other dumbbell for bags, treats, keys and other dog-walking essentials.
Unleash Your Fitness
Check out Dr. Marty Becker, DVM and Dr. Robert Kushner, MD’s book Fitness Unleashed! A Dog and Owner’s Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together and find helpful ideas for staying active and optimizing weight loss through exercise. It’s for people and pups of all fitness levels.
Thank you to bullcitydogs on flickr for the photos of Donovan, Glenn and Oliver.