10 ways to keep your dog fit and happy

The secret of a lean and active pooch can probably be found in this simple, un-Einstein-like equation:

Calories consumed = calories burned off = one fit doggie.

But as sure as dogs love biscuits, a new study will be released decrying another increase in dog obesity in the UK.

What's that in stones?
What’s that in stones?

Which is odd, given that 88% of dog owners in Britain agree that overweight dogs are more susceptible to high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, respiratory problems and other diseases.

Problem is, not enough of us recognize or are willing to admit our own dog might be overweight. Here, then are a few ideas to help keep your pooch leaner and more active.

1. Feed your dog the exact amount recommended on its packet, as food companies tend to overestimate portions. Don’t guess. Use a measuring cup. Only use treats as a reward. And don’t toss him any leftover crisps, cheese, pizza or other human junk food. They’re devils to burn off.

I'll run, I'll run...
I’ll run, I’ll run…

2. Tailor workouts to your dog’s age and breed. For instance:

(a) Puppies’ skeletal bones are soft and their joints still developing, so don’t over-tax them and avoid twisting games.

(b) Smush-faced dogs, like Pekingese and Bulldogs can’t tolerate as much exercise due to breathing issues.

(c) Agility training and obedience classes are recommended for Border Collies.

(d) Terriers like off-leash digging and sniffing exercises.

(e) Herding dogs, sled dogs make great running companions.

Find a www.dogjog.co.uk event near you

If unsure of your dog’s best-suited exercise regimen, check his breed profile on-line or ask your vet.

What’s that, you want more tips?

3. Thirty minutes of off-leash exercise will burn off many more calories than a 30-minute walk down the street.

4. Swimming is a grand exercise. A few breeds, however, can’t swim. Bulldogs in particular.

What, ain't this the paddling pool?
What, ain’t this the paddling pool?

5. A tug-of-war is a mental and physically challenging workout that burns calories and builds muscles.

6. Playing fetch with a tennis ball is a no-brainer. And a good calorie burner. Frisbee is lots of fun, though not for dogs with short legs and long spines like Dachshunds and Welsh Corgis who could damage their backs from the twisting involved.

Go long!
Go long!

7. Try to go for a walk or run at the same times every day. Your dog will remind you to get your butt in gear, in case you decide to slack off. But do change-up your walking routes. Dogs get bored walking the same stretch day after day. They need to sniff out other trails to stay stimulated.

More? Okay, easy.

8. Treadmills are good for indoor exercise. Some are even dog specific.

Sorry, makes a better bed.
Sorry, makes a better bed.

9. Set up an obstacle course inside the house using chairs, brooms, cones and blankets to create tunnels, jumps and other challenges. Also, running up and down the stairs is a calorie burner for you and your doggie.

10. Hiking, cross-country skiing, even yoga for dogs (there are many examples on YouTube). Any prop-less activity you do for exercise, your dog will likely mimic.

Of course, too much exercise at one time is not good, either. If your dog starts to lag or exhibits shortness of breath, wheezing, excessive panting, agitation or signs of lameness, you need to stop.

To help keep your dog lean and active, Yum.ee makes treats such as Light Bites with Turkey and Rice. These low-fat snacks boast super nutrient l-carnitine which helps burn fat and preserve lean muscle.

Find out more about the good stuff our treats do for dogs at: www.Yum.ee.

Pics from Kitenutuklindyiphilhearing, Matt Deavenport and normanack @Flickr.

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Blog Post By David Fuller
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