A whopping 54% of dogs in the U.S. are classified as overweight or obese, according to research conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).
If your dog is one of those included in the overweight percentile, you can tackle the problem by starting a doggie boot camp at your home. The trick is to make it fun so your buddy will enjoy it and lose weight at the same time! Here’s how to do it.
Step 1 – Visit your vet first
Get a health check up for your dog before you start your boot camp. You need to make sure there aren’t any underlying health issues. For example, your dog may have heart issues that restrict the amount of exercise they should do, or they may have a thyroid disorder that’s causing them to put on weight.
Step 2 – Start planning your boot camp
This can involve a weekly schedule that includes:
- daily walks/runs. These could be slow walks/runs on flat surfaces at first, and you can progressively introduce hills as your buddy’s fitness improves.
- fun exercises in your backyard, the local park or the beach. For example playing fetch or hide and seek. You could also go for a swim in the warmer weather.
- setting up a fun obstacle course in your backyard that encourages your dog to run, jump and explore.
The key with setting up your weekly schedule (besides making it fun) is to start slow and gradually build up the exercise time and intensity. It’s important to also understand that overweight dogs have a higher risk of:
- overheating and heat stroke, so make sure you exercise when it’s a cooler time of day in the warmer months.
- joint and soft tissue injuries.
Ideally, you should aim for your dog to have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This could be broken up into 3 ten-minute blocks in the early days of your boot camp.
Step 3 – Don’t forget your dog’s nutrition!
What your dog eats (and how much) is just as important as exercise when it comes to losing weight. Make sure you feed them healthy food and that you have appropriate portion sizes. And go easy on the treats!
If you combine your boot camp with sensible feeding, you should start to see results soon. Make exercise and good nutrition part of your dog’s life so they’ll never get overweight again.
How we can help
At DOOG, we have a great range of products you can use to exercise with your dog, including:
- a range of fun fetchable and other toys.
- harnesses that you can use for runs.
- our innovative and award-winning walking and running belts, so you can take anything you need with you and keep your hands free.
- a 3-in-1 water bottle, drink insulator and water bowl, so neither of you has to go thirsty while you’re exercising.