Humans aren’t the only ones who tend to pack on a few extra pounds during the winter months. Our pets are susceptible to some unwanted weight gain as well. Being just 10% overweight reduces your pet’s life span by one-third and predisposes him or her to a variety of disorders ranging from arthritis and diabetes to cancer and heart disease.
The single most common cause of obesity in pets today is well meaning owners who, in the spirit of giving, indulge their pets with oversized portions and excessive treats. As I’m sure you’re well aware, that weight adds up quickly. If only it would fall off as quickly as it goes on!
Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM has 5 fun and effective ways for you and your pet to get some exercise together. Walking your dog doesn’t have to be a chore. It should be something fun and beneficial for both of you.
5 ways to lose weight with your pet this spring:
- Intervals– Plan a longer stroll in the morning or the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. Walk briskly, jog for 30 seconds, and then return to a brisk walk. Repeat every 2-3 minutes. The intervals will raise both of your heart rates, thus boosting your metabolisms.
- Fetch for Abs– Lay down in sit up position, holding your dog’s favorite toy. As you come to sitting position, pretend to throw the toy. Repeat as many times as your pooch is willing to play along. (This game can also be played with a feather stick for cats).
- Squat Jumps– Same idea as the previous exercise, except this time you will get your dog’s attention with the toy as you squat down. Return to standing and have your dog jump to retrieve the toy.
- Race to the Finish– Take your dog out to the backyard or a nearby park. As your furry friend takes off to retrieve the ball you’ve just thrown, run with him. Race him to the toy, then tug-o-war for a few seconds before tossing it again. This exercise allows both of you to increase your heart rate with a quick burst of cardio and engage core strength at the same time.
- Stair Running– Always a classic. If you don’t have stairs at home, consider lunges up and down a hill. Keeping your dog leashed by your side, progress up and down the stairs several times. Jog, skip a step, jump to the next step, climb sideways; there are numerous variations that can be done to intensify this work out for yourself while still allowing your dog to engage his hips and strengthen leg and back muscle.
About the Author
Dr. Carol is an author and world-renowned integrative veterinarian of twenty plus years. After graduating from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Carol completed a prestigious internship at the Columbus Zoo. Shortly afterwards, she launched a very successful private practice and became founder and director of the non-profit organization, the American Pet Institute. Dr. Carol offers traditional veterinary care for dogs and cats with a softer, natural touch. Her approach highlights the importance of nutrition and utilizing holistic avenues in combination with traditional treatments.