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Getting active with your dog

It’s a new year and a time for making life changes. Most people would say that they wish they were in better shape.

Not only should we desire to be in great shape, we should want our pets to be healthy as well.

It is estimated that 35 percent of the 54 million dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight.

This is usually from the lack of exercise and overfeeding. To put it in perspective, when a Chihuahua gains one pound, it is like the average women gaining a whopping 38 pounds.

When a 20-pound dog eats a single ounce of cheddar cheese, it’s like a human eating one and a half hamburgers!

Consider enlisting your dog as your daily workout partner. There are many ways to accomplish this and the everyday walk is a great place to start.

When taking Fido around the block, don’t just merely walk, take a power walk.

Instead of stopping every few feet to let your pooch sniff around, mix in jogging with the walking to increase your heart rate and his heart rate.

If your four-legged pal is not panting and you’re not sweating, no one is benefiting.

Break your dog from the frequent-stop habit by training them to only relieve themselves at home.

Make walks separate from potty trips. It is wise to start out with short intervals of jogging if you and your dog haven’t run recently.

One of our favorite exercises with our dogs is roller-blading. This takes some practice on your part and getting used to for the dog.

It is important to wear appropriate safety equipment and keep an eye for pedestrians and traffic.

Make sure you are skating and exercising and not making your dog do all the work by pulling you down the street.

Swimming can be another fun activity.

If your dog is not very buoyant, you can purchase a dog life vest at any quality pet supply store.

Our giant schnauzer loves the water and loves following us back and forth as we swim laps. Water exercise is great for dogs that have hip and joint problems.

If you prefer to work out alone, there are several other ways to wear Fido down.

Fetch is a great way to burn off energy. If it is cold and you do not have a lot of room, toss the toy or ball down the steps and have him run down and bring it back.

No stairs, no problem- try tossing the toy in the bathtub. This way he has to jump in and get the toy for added exercise.

There are many activities you can participate in with your dog.

Keeping it fun and mixing it up is the main thing. If you do not make exercising fun, you won’t do it. Get out there and get active. Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop