If you notice that your dog is putting on the pounds, do him a favor and help him shed them. Just as in humans, being overweight can lead to a variety of health problems, so here are some fun ways to get your pet back in shape.
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Take your dog along with you when you do your exercise routine. Jogging or running with your dog on a leash can be great motivation for both of you. Dogs love to please their masters, and just seeing how much fun he is having will inspire you.
Alternatively, head to the park with a ball or a stick. Most dogs love to play fetch – running freely, getting lots of exercise, and having loads of fun – while you enjoy a healthy stroll as well. Teaching your dog to play with a frisbee is another fun way to get her exercising more.
Go off hiking with your dog. Following a long trail which leads you through interesting scenery and passes over different terrains is a great way to get your dog back in shape.
You’ll be surprised at how much distance you can cover while enjoying great views. Hiking is also a great way to bond with your dog and build up trust with him as you vanquish the obstacles in your path and arrive triumphant at the end of the trail.
Most dogs enjoy the water, and taking your dog with you to the beach, a river, or a lake will give him the chance to swim. Swimming is a great exercise which really burns calories – a great way to get your pet back in shape.
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Taking your dog to a dog park gives her a chance to run and exercise with her own kind. It is also the perfect opportunity for her to practice socializing with other dogs and with their owners. Dogs are pack animals that naturally love to play – as much as humans do – and have mock fights, so this is an excellent way for her to get some exercise with fellow canines while you take a break!
Dogs need to be taken out regularly to do their necessities. Extend the length of these regular walks so you can both benefit from them as exercise. Even short walks are a great way for you to get up to your recommended 10,000 steps a day for optimum health.
Carefully note how much food your dog gets every day, and slowly decrease the amount over a few weeks if you realise you have been feeding them too much. An adult dog should be fed once, in the morning, and should be able to finish their meal within about fifteen minutes. Don’t give dogs scraps and leftovers, and if you use dog treats, ensure they are not overly high in calories.
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If the weather is not suitable for outdoor exercise, you can both get your blood pumping by running up and down the stairs inside your house or apartment building. However, most dogs are not bothered by the rain, so if you feel up to – just grab yourself a good waterproof coat and head out for your regular walk.
If your dog has long hair, you might want to get him a raincoat too to at least cover his back. That way it’s much easier to just dry off his legs and paws when you get home.
Use games to get your dog to exercise more. Hiding doggie treats around the house or garden will get her running about sniffing them out. Don’t make it too hard for her to find them though, or she could become demoralized and not want to play anymore. Also, remember to use healthy low-calorie treats.
Harper Reid is a freelance writer from New Zealand. One of her first jobs growing up was walking her neighbours’ dogs, leading to a lifelong fondness for man’s best friends – especially Yorkshire terriers! To know more about Harper and her work, visit her Tumblr page.