Dogs love their food - they will eat their own food plus anyone else's if they can get away with it. This love of food combined with today's sedentary lifestyle is causing dogs to put on weight and become chubby. Therefore, it is important to keep your dog active and doing things rather than just sleeping and eating. While you can reduce the calories your dog eats, it is important to increase the activity that they do. Too many dogs sit around all day without access to a secure back yard. A balcony on an apartment is all some dogs have. But it doesn't take rocket science to alter your dog's diet and exercise regime. You just have to become immune to those begging eyes, pleading for more food. Treat toys are a great way to make your dog work for their food. Rather than giving your dog a bowl of the yummy stuff, (which they will gulp down in record time and ask for more) fill a toy with pieces of food and dry treats that they have to maneuver, shake and move to get a treat. Not only will it keep them occupied for longer, but it gets them moving and active at the same time. Read on for some great activities that will help your dog become more active and enable them to lose their spare tire.
A new activity for fitness and fun is dancing or musical freestyle. While there are classes you can join, you can make up your own routine at home and you and your buddy can boogie down and get fit at the same time. You can start with just a few steps, going forward then back. Add a command for your dog to run through your legs and circle round to the front again. The benefits of dancing (apart from being fun) are that you both get an aerobic workout that will help to tone muscles and burn away some calories. Your dog will develop greater stamina, better balance and their muscle tone will improve while their bones will strengthen.
Swimming is an ideal exercise for an overweight dog as the water can support their body, and the sport is easy on their joints. If you have a pool, make use of it to reduce your pet's weight. If not, then a trip to the beach or river is fine. The walk along the river bank or on the soft sand on the beach will do your dog good, and the swimming will help strengthen their heart and lungs. When you are starting any exercise, take it easy at first. Dogs that have been mostly sedentary may find it takes a while to get their fitness back, so don't force them too much or you may cause other health issues. Never over exercise a dog on a hot day as they don't sweat like we do, and overheating can become a real issue. Take care of your buddy and ease them into an active life. Swimming is perfect for a hot day as it gives your dog an opportunity to cool down in the water.
A wet day is not an excuse to put off a bout of exercise. You can set up an indoor obstacle course for your dog, complete with jumps (boxes), weaving (in and out of marker cones), and climbing (utilizing stairs inside). This event can last as long as your dog has the energy, while you can either be a sideline supporter or you can do the course with your buddy. You will get a good work out while your canine pal burns off the biscuits! Use props such as seats that your dog has to crawl under, and include tricks such as 'roll over' to add an extra element to finish each round. If your dog doesn't know this trick, now is the perfect time to teach them. Keep any rewards small, as in tiny and healthy. Before long, your pet will be lithe and streamlined.
If it is a warm sunny day then it may be the perfect opportunity to take your dog out on a stand-up paddleboard. They are perfectly designed for a canine navigator, being wide enough and long enough for most dogs. Go slowly and carefully if this is your dog's first ride. Practice in shallow water, getting them to hop on and stay on while you move the board around. They will get plenty of exercise just jumping on and off and swimming. Once they get their confidence, take them out in a sheltered calm lake or bay. It may be best to outfit your dog with a life vest, they usually come with a convenient handle which makes it easier to lift your pup back on board if they take a dip. The vest costs approximately $35 from pet stores. This fun activity will tone up your pooch's muscles and help melt the fat away.
Some dogs love to play soccer, especially herding breeds like the Border Collie or Australian Shepherd. You can pick up a soccer style ball from your pet goods supplier; these balls are resistant to the sharp pet teeth that may try to grab it. Once you teach your dog to nudge the ball back and forth between you, it is time to speed it up. They will soon get the hang of it and race to beat you off the ball. Dogs can learn to dribble the ball along with their nose or their paw. This activity can be played anywhere - even inside on a wet day- as long as you have a large room clear of most furniture (a hallway is perfect). It is a perfect way to get your dog and yourself active and provides a great workout. Give a healthy treat (such as vegetables or small bits of cooked meat) so that you don't undermine the purpose of the game which is for your dog to lose their excess weight.