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Exercise is key to preventing obesity in dogs. Did you know, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of the pets in the United States are overweight or obese? While we, as humans, may see our pets extra weight as “cute” or “cuddly,” their extra weight may be causing severe health problems.
Obesity in pets prevent our furry companionsfrom living their optimal life. Excessweight results in joint pain and lower mobility. The excess weight may also result in trouble breathing. Overweight pets are also more prone to heat stroke, diabetes and back problems.
Exercising an overweight dog may prove to be somewhat difficult. When you first begin exercising, you should start off slow. Begin with short walks occasionally and gradually increase the length and frequency of the walk. As your dog becomes more prone to exercising, you may also implement walking up hills, stairs and other more demanding terrain.
Be careful when it is hot, brachycephalic pets (short noses), do not tolerate heat well. Common brachycephalic dogs include:
You may choose another option with these dogs when it is hot outside such as going swimming or playing indoors.
Exercising senior dogs (age 7+) is also crucial. Your senior dog may appear to prefer napping over exercising; however, it is still important to exercise him. A little exercise each day could greatly improve the quality of his life and slow the process of aging. Exercise stimulates blood flow allowing toxins to exit your dog’s body. Exercise also improves bowel function.
If you do not exercise your senior dog, his muscles will continue to weaken at a quicker rate. Exercise allows an increased amount of blood to flow through to his muscles. Try the following exercises with your senior dog:
Amber L. Drake, a Professional Canine Behaviorist and Adjunct Professor of Biological Science, has extensive experience in the Animal Science Field. She has worked with dogs professionally for over ten years. Her clients range from private pet parents to large canine rescue organizations. In addition to accepting clients on a regular basis, Drake serves as an Adjunct Professor at Jamestown Community College and Kaplan University. Drake has earned a Doctor of Education (ABD), Educational Specialist Post-Masters, Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has completed coursework at Cornell University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, Veterinary Technology at Penn Foster and a number of Continuing Education courses to remain up-to-date in her field.