How Your Dog Can Help You Slim Down This Summer

 

As the first brave flowers of spring emerge, and the memory of a seemingly endless winter begins to fade away, your thoughts may be turning to exercise and weight loss. After all, it’s likely been a while since you contemplated wearing shorts and bathing suits. Having a dog can be a great first step to getting in shape: already, Fido helps ensure that you’re getting outside on a daily basis for walks. Find out some ideas for ways that you can work exercise into your daily or weekly routine with your dog — and keep in mind, your workout will do wonders for your dog’s health, as well as your own.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

Take a Longer Walk

When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to fall into the habit of walking your dog just far enough that he relieves himself. Take advantage of the nicer weather, and extend how far you go on each day’s walk. Bored with the usual walking path? Vary your route near your home (turn left from your front door, instead of your usual right). Or try going to a new neighborhood or hiking nearby trails. Even a few blocks more on your daily walk, especially if you’re walking briskly, can help you get back in shape.

RELATED STORY: Safety Tips for Walking Dogs at Night

Play Frisbee or Catch

Are you thinking that it’s your dog that does all the leaping, running, and bounding when you play fetch, frisbee, or catch? No way! Those trips to the park involve a ton of exercise for you, too, as you play along with your pup and run after the balls your dog fails to catch. Make your dog’s weekend: spend next Saturday in a nearby park throwing around a tennis ball.

RELATED STORY: Our 10 Favorite Dog Toys

Go for a Jog

Depending on your dog’s size, training, and health, she may be a great running partner for you. Before you take up jogging, make sure your dog’s health is up for the challenge. You’ll also want to make sure it’s reasonable for her to jog alongside you — interval runs would be a real challenge for a chihuahua. Finally, you’ll want to make sure she won’t get the leash tangled up in your feet. Once you’re off and running, you may find that as a creature of habit and routine, your dog makes an excellent running companion and motivates you to hit the pavement.

RELATED STORY: Teach Your Dog to Heel

Try Something New: Doga

If you love yoga, try this twist: do doga, or dog yoga, with your dog. Doga may be the perfect pup-and-person workout for you if you like a bit of structure to your exercise, respond well to classes, and thrive on schedule and routine. Generally, the joy of a doga comes from doing the stretches and chants together with your dog in a group, classroom setting.

RELATED STORY: The Doga Fad Explained

Do you enjoy exercising with your dog? Leave a comment and share your workout tips! Consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. 

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6 Smart Tips to Help Your Pet Lose Weight

We know that change can often be a bitter pill to swallow, but the silver lining? All of these adjustments are fairly simple, and if you are able to successfully implement them, you might end up dropping some pant sizes as well.

Here are 6 simple pet weight loss tips to get started.

1. Talk to your vet about finding the right low-cal food

Many of your run of the mill dog foods contain tons of fillers, and a dearth of nutrients, meaning a change in diet can often be a big first step in losing weight. However, when it comes to diet, there is not one catch all answer to every problem. Pets come in such a wide array of shapes and sizes that finding the right food for them is a matter of understanding their specific needs. Contact your vet to find out what food suits your dog best.

RELATED STORY: Your Dog Food Questions Answered

2. Serve up the pet chow with a measuring cup

Arguably the simplest weight loss change you could ever make, rather than using a scoop or a plastic cup to dish out your pet’s dinner, use a measuring cup to help monitor the exact amount you feed them per meal. Overfeeding is one of the leading causes of obesity in pets. Check the label on the side of the bag and make sure to dole out the recommended serving size and no more.

3. Veggies > treats

Next time you are tempted to give your pet a biscuit, why not give them a baby carrot instead? Or how about a little broccoli? Even an apple is a good substitute for those high carb, high calorie treats. Just make sure you know what veggies are safe for dogs and cats before giving them anything from the crisper drawer.

4. 20 extra minutes of daily play time

If your pet is overweight, chances are it is more than just a dietary problem. So however long you normally play with your pet, add an extra 20 minutes to that time every day. Play a little fetch or some tug of war — anything to get your pet moving and burning up some of those extra calories.

5. Add a couple blocks to your walk

Another simple and effective way to help your dog burn off some of their extra weight is to make their daily walk a few feet longer. Depending on how big your dog is, adding as little as one extra block to their daily walk can end up making a big difference.

6. Weekly weigh-ins

If you really want to help your pet lose weight, it helps to be able to track your progress. With a weekly weight in, you are better able to understand what is working for them, where you need to step it up, and how far you have come.

What Do You Think?

Got any pet weight loss tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments section! We would love to hear from you.

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