The other day I was invited by Radio Cambridgeshire to talk about obesity in dogs. This came about from a new report discovered on one very big pooch. Named 'Booper The Wooper', this Border collie dog weighed 8 Stone! Crazy. We had a great chat about exercising dogs and medical conditions etc.
This got me thinking about how we can all take little steps on a daily basis to help keep our loved ones in shape. Not just to look good but to most importantly to keep them in good health. Overweight dogs can have all sorts of health problems from inflammation of the joints to heart disease.
Here are a few ways to keep your dogs weight in check:
Walk your dog, obvious i know but most dogs should have two walks a day of one hour each - morning and evening works well.
Feed your dog using a Kong AKA a dog toy food dispenser. You put food in a toy and the dog has to move the toy, push it, chew it, etc to get the food out. This makes your dog spend time figuring out how to get to get to his/her food.
Your dog may be intolerant to certain foods which may be contributing to weight gain, get your dog a food intolerance test done.
Get your dog's heart rate raised, stretch those legs and fill those lungs full of air. Sprinting, play fighting with other dogs, digging or climbing will help.
With this in mind organised dog sports such as obedience training, tracking, lure coursing, agility, scent-work, flyball and the like are great ways to keep your dog fit.
Another way to tire out your dog are puzzle games and practicing basic training. This uses your dog's mental energy and these puzzles often needs# your dog to push obstacles out the way to gain a treat keeping them fit, both mentally and physically.
Don't give tid-bits, dinner table scraps or overfeed treats.
Try healthy alternative treat such as cucumber and carrots, lean chicken or beef.
Allow your dog to use muscles he or she wouldn't normally use, so allow to play with other dogs, run up and down the stairs, go hiking, swimming and even build an assault course in your garden.
Hiding his or her food around the house instead of giving them their food in a bowl will also help. They will have to use their nose to sniff out and search for their food.
Playing fetch, tug of war, hide and seek are also fun activities to perform
with your dogs to keep them fit.
Just food for thought. You could also share the load by getting a dog walker :P