Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fight the Fido flab and then some: Fitness tips for dogs (and their masters)

So Shadow and I are packing on the pounds as of late. This may become a problem later, so it's for the best that we do something about it now.

It should come to no surprise to anyone that our animal friends too can become overweight and be susceptible to health problems much like we do when we let ourselves go. This is particularly jarring for dogs as they are, without a doubt, some of the most active creatures on earth. If your dog is packing on the pounds, then it might be high time to ramp up your walking routine or in.

Image source: dogtime.com

Dogs are working creatures, first domesticated by people to hunt and gather alongside them. Many dogs were bred specifically as working animals, and the life of a pampered playmate usually goes against this. In addition to making them fat, this sedentary lifestyle has caused many of them no end to mental frustration as their pent-up instincts need to be satisfied in some way. If you've ever had a misbehaving dog, this may be one of the reasons why.

Playtime is one of the best exercises for dogs as it lets them vent their instincts in non-destructive ways. And I'm not just talking about the kind of play dogs do by themselves when you leave them with their favorite toys. Regularly playing with your pooch not only lets your dog blow off steam, but it also reinforces the bond between master and companion and is an excellent exercise in its own right for both.

Image source: instructables.com

Seek a vet's opinion on what activities you and your dog can do before planning a play schedule. Too much rigorous play and exercise can be bad for some breeds. Here's a quick guide from the ASPCA for more information.

Industrial interior planner and dog lover Scott Jay Abraham here. Catch more updates from me and my canine pal Shadow on Twitter.