Fetch Fitness: Workouts
Obesuty is a growing and serious problem for both people and their dogs. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that about 55 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. There are many factors that can cause dog obesity, but with the new year should come a new focus on fighting the fat.
The following workou
ts are divided into four weeks, perfect for cycling through each month, and are great for dogs and pet parents who want to lose weight together or just stay fit.
- Week One: Running – Before starting a new exercise routine, take your dog to the vet for a check-up. Your vet may implement restrictions on how much running your dog will be able to handle. As with starting any new exercise routine, it’s best for both you and your dog to build up your endurance. For beginners, try walking and working up to a jog on Mondays and Thursdays. Run only as fast and as far as you and your pooch can handle on Tuesdays and Fridays, resting up on Wednesdays. A good benchmark to build on is to remember what house in your neighborhood you made it to on your first run. As you continue the new regimen, add one or two houses each time. For weekends or exercise enthusiasts, try to give your run some meaning. Jog to the dog park or a nearby dog-friendly restaurant; the reward at the end will make it all worth it.
- Week Two: Doga and Pilates – Time for you and your pooch to do your best downward dog stretch. Dog yoga, or doga, combines stretching and meditation to burn calories and help put your mind at ease. If you haven’t tried yoga before, it’s probably best to find a group class in your area to start with. Advanced yoga enthusiasts can kick up their workout by hiking up to a quiet spot or running around the beach first before a session. Pet parents can also try dog pilates, which combines spine-strengthening exercises, core toners and simple lifts. With either workout, both you and your pooch will get to spend some time together while working toward a healthier lifestyle.
- Week Three: High Tail it Outside – Dog-friendly bootcamp is a great way for you and your dog to get in shape while enjoying the outdoors. While bootcamp routines will vary by instructor, most combine stretching, cardio and focused workouts to tone your arms, abs or legs. In the Los Angeles area, Thank Dog! Bootcamp offers classes that incorporate dog obedience training. Pet parents who want to exercise outside can also try hiking with their dog or going for a run along the beach. The change of scenery will give you and your dog a new experience, making the workout go by faster.
- Week Four: Water Workouts – Perfect for the summer months, these are a few dog-friendly water exercises that will help both you and your pooch keep your cool while shedding some pounds. Swimming is always a great option for exercise since most dogs know how to doggie paddle and can learn to swim back and forth with you.For a more challenging workout, try stand-up paddle boarding with your pooch. This activity is a great arm and shoulder workout for you and obedience training for your dog since he’ll have to lay beneath you on the board without falling in the water. Be sure your dog is wearing a life vest when you paddle board in a marina or ocean.
Dog Care Resolutions
Make a resolution this new year to be the best pet parent you can possibly be. After all, caring for your dog’s health is the most important task of a pet parent.
- If you don’t already do this each night, here’s our helpful guide on how to brush your dog’s teeth. Additionally, you should make a resolution to keep your dog’s coat healthy by brushing it. Not only will this untangle your dog’s fur, it’ll help you cut back on vacuuming by getting most of the loose hair out with the brush.
- This year, make a resolution to try a more holistic approach to your dog’s health. Most conditions can be treated with natural supplements, like our i Love Dogs vitamins. Learn how green tea helps your dog keep his new year’s resolutions.
- A healthy diet is the foundation of your dog’s health. If possible, try to get your dog away from processed, commercial food and switch him to a home-cooked diet.
Get Focused: Quality and Training Time
One of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make is to spend more time with your dog. We all love coming home to a wagging tail, but sometimes a long workday or helping the kids leaves many of us unmotivated to give some attention to our dog.
On days you can’t workout, Eugenia Vogel, our i Love Dogs Ask a Trainer, suggests training your dog during TV commercials.
“If you have time to sit down and watch an hour-long show, you have time to train your dog,” Vogel says. “Every time a commercial comes on, go to your dog and work on any commands or tricks you’re training. TV shows are a great training assistant because the commercial intervals are perfect for brief, frequent, and fun sessions.”
She adds, “just be sure to really focus on your dog during these brief training sessions; you’ll hear when your show comes back on, so during commercials, make it all about you and your dog.”
If you have some extra time to devote to your pup, you can always try teaching him how to dance or speak.