Get into the habit of dog fitness

Exercise like you mean it

A nice, long walk with your dog is all well and good, but it’s not exercise. If you stop to let him sniff every tree and lamppost, he’s not getting the benefits of a real workout. Learning the difference between walking for weight loss and walking for fun is simple, and it starts with determination.

Make a decision to exercise your dog the minute you leave the house. Draw his leash close to you, no more than four feet away. Start out at a brisk pace and – here’s the catch – don’t slow down. Don’t stop. Don’t let him smell flowers or trees, even when he’s resisting. Instead, tighten the leash (take care not to jerk it) and command him to “Stop.” or “Come here.” If your walk is purposeful, your dog will pick up on it and learn that it’s different from a normal stroll. A tip: if you’re breaking out into a sweat, chances are your dog’s feeling the burn too.

Change things around

A great new habit for keeping your dog’s weight in check is to move the food bowl. This won’t be just a simple pick-up-and-put-down – we’re talking about a new feeding setup designed to keep your dog in motion. Start by moving his food bowl upstairs or downstairs, or to a different side of the house. You’ll notice that your dog will soon get used to this new location and start lingering or laying near the bowl. The moment you spot this happening, move it again. Make a habit of moving the bowl around regularly to stop your dog becoming sedentary.

Change is also welcome in your dog’s toys. Just like people, pets can grow tired and disinterested with the toys they play with day after day, so if you’d like to pique his interest all over again, look into some new playthings for your dog.

Stop the table scraps!

We’ve talked about weight loss habits and reaching and maintaining an ideal weight, but the truth is that certain habits are hard to kick…or just slip by us. We might cut the treats, watch the weight and exercise right, but until we unlearn to give our dogs leftovers from lunch or dinner, we’ll be left worrying where the weight came from.

Make a point of telling the whole family to restrain from sharing food with your dog. This might not sit well with the younger family members, but if you explain to them that it’s all for his own good, they’ll come around in no time.

Of course, pet fitness wouldn’t have a purpose if it wasn’t paired with the right nutrition. Take a look at how Hill’s Science Plan Perfect Weight or Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic dog food can help your dog hit that weight mark faster.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health or are worried that they are severely overweight, always seek veterinary advice before starting a weight loss programme.

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