Exercises for Your Overweight Dog
By Stacey Brecher
Have you recently noticed that your dog has put on a few extra pounds? Help it get trim and healthy again by increasing its daily activity level.
An easy time for your dog to exercise is during meals. Many dogs eat their food out of their bowls very quickly and go back to lying down. Dr. Laurie Donovan, a New York City–based veterinarian, suggests replacing your pet’s usual bowl of kibble with a game. “You can throw each piece in a different direction and have your pet run after it. You can also put the kibble inside some toys that are designed to release the food when the toy is moved,” she says. Your dog will enjoy the reward of food while simultaneously getting exercise. Just be sure to only feed your dog the recommended daily amount.
Another way to help your dog lose weight is to enlist the help of other dogs. Set up a doggie playdate or head out to the dog park to encourage your dog to run around. A tennis ball or Frisbee toss is also a great form of exercise. Make sure the area is fenced in, and always keep an eye on your pets to make sure they stay safe.
Swimming is a good option for older, obese or arthritic dogs. “Swimming is low impact and very easy on the joints,” says Donovan. “Running after a ball that’s thrown into the water is always a favorite.”
Donovan recommends that dogs should exercise at least three times a week, but they will drop pounds faster with daily activity. “Exercise will encourage weight loss, stimulate their minds, make them happier, keep the joints healthier and improve heart function and circulation,” she says.
Stacey Brecher is a freelance writer. She has contributed to Animal Fair magazine, and her blogs have previously appeared on The Dog Daily.