3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Dog Fit and Fabulous
As our dogs age their metabolism slows and they can become increasingly heavier. Obesity in dogs causes unnecessary pressure on their joints, vertebrae, and contributes to additional health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and more. Give your dog the best possible chance to live a long and healthy life. Here are three easy ways to keep your dog fit and fabulous.
- Monitor Food Intake
- Exercise Regularly
- Regular Health Exams
1.Monitor Food Intake
Seems like a no brainer, right? You’d be surprised at the number of dog owners that over feed their pets either with too large a portion or treats. Balancing proper nutrition and caloric intake can be difficult regardless of feeding raw, home cooked, or kibble.
Your animal’s body conformation, personality, and activity level play a large role in the necessary food portions. A dog that is very active for example, will likely metabolize faster and require a slightly larger portion.
A good rule of thumb, feed less than recommended by the pet food company. Click To Tweet
My rescue pup Beau came to us with his ribs showing and a voracious appetite. He was likely the runt of the litter and did not receive enough nutrition in his first few months. It created a food aggressive mutt that we struggle to slow down and is always begging for food. We struggled to put weight on him while young and as a result increased his portions temporarily until he reached his ideal weight. Once his coat improved and his ribs were not as visible we gradually reduced the amount he ate.
Food intake should be evaluated consistently throughout the year. Your dog will be more active during certain times of the year. In our climate, my dogs spent a lot of time outside in spring and fall running and playing, while during summer and winter I limit their time. As a result, I can have a little freedom with portions and treats during their more active periods.
Finally, watch out for all those hidden calories!
Supplements and treats are calories most people don’t consider when feeding their pets. Treats especially can be the biggest problem for many dog owners. My dogs are spoiled. I admit it. But if we’ve had a training session or a lot of treats that day, I reduce the amount of food they have for dinner. It’s all about moderation, not deprivation.
We are all busy, and most of us don’t exercise regularly. I know I don’t. But exercise is extremely important for our pet’s health. At a minimum your dog should be walked once daily. A nice, energetic walk rather than a sniff and see is ideal for maintaining or attaining the ideal weight.
It is easier to maintain your pet’s weight than try to lose it. Click To Tweet
Fun ways to exercise your pet:
- Regular walks
- Dog parks
- On leash running, cycling, skateboarding, or rollerblading
It is important to build up your pet’s fitness, just as you would with your own to avoid muscle strain. Start slow and work up to it. More, choose different exercises and routes to keep it fun! Exercising with your dog can be a great bonding experience.
3.Regular Health Exams
I cannot stress how important it is to have regular veterinary health exams for your pet. Your vet will evaluate your pet’s body score and advise you on best practices to maintain optimal health. Yes, you know your animal best but when you see your dog every day and may not notice your dog’s weight gain or loss.
Trust your veterinarian and follow their advice. They have your animal’s health needs at the forefront of their minds.
These three easy steps will have your dog fit and fabulous in no time! Feed your dog a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, and have regular health checks.
Pin this helpful infographic to help you.
What do you do to keep your pet healthy and fit?
Great tips! My new rescue dog (a St. Bernard mix) came to is with his ribs and hips showing and probably 20lbs underweight. Also food aggressive! Currently feeding him a bit, but once he reaches ideal weight you have to consider putting too much weight on for a big dog. Once it gets warmer we are going to try swimming to help him get stronger too!
Such an important topic. Keeping our pet’s trim and at a proper weight is important for their overall health. Proper diet, amount fed, exercise and of course regular veterinarian check up’s all play into keeping our pets healthy.
Exactly! It pains me to see some many clients come to us because they are overweight and unhealthy.
We do all this – I admit however that with 6 months of winter the staying active part can be very tricky when it’s -40 out! But we find ways.
That’s awesome. They are really so easy to do but you may be surprised how many people don’t follow through. This winter has been especially tough!
Amy Shojai, CABC
Great post and tips. Winter months can be a challenge for the exercise part (not for the dog, but for ME hating the cold!). With my cat, he’s always inside anyway so the feather chase-toy is a great way to get his tail moving.
Thank you! If possible, play some indoor games with your dog as well to keep up exercise despite the cold.
Easy simple tips to help keep the pups healthy. These also work for cats too. I definitely agree with using less food than recommended. It’s definitely works to keep weight in check.
Yes, Kamira you are so right. Good tips for any species, dogs, cats, and humans!
We do the calorie monitoring with our cats. Getting rid of ONE cheap food they all loved allowed her to reduce her weight by two Kgs!!! Losing weight has allowed her to be more lively, fun loving and generally happier. Weight makes a difference!
I couldn’t agree more!
All of those and we also work on conditioning exercises. We’ve started slowly doing hikes again after my injury and Mr. N is loving it.
Glad to hear you are feeling better. Yes exercise should always start slow and increase in length and resistance. Slow and steady!
Great tips, Layla is aging gracefully as I say LOL. She gets a bi-annual check up at the vet plus in the mornings she gets a really long walk so that during the day she gets shorter ones or play time in the park. As for diet I balance her by if she gets treats during the day then a smaller dinner and it has worked till now phew
That’s awesome to hear!
Great tips! It really is that easy to keep your dogs healthy and happy. It seems like common sense, but I feel like to vast majority of dog owners overfeed and under-exercise their dogs. Mine hike, swim, run off leash, play fetch, and I just started bikejoring with my hound Boomer, the dog in my pack with the highest exercise requirements. Instead of evaluating how much we feed seasonally, I do so on a daily basis. I have a baseline of what I normally feed my dogs and then will feed a little extra on high activity days or a little less on rainy, boring, lay around and sleep all day ones.
I think that is a great way of thinking about things, daily vs. seasonally over sometimes….never. It is that easy, but it does take attention to detail and follow through.
Love your infographic and yes to all your suggestions! GOOD advice! Even as an experience pet mom it can be hard not to overfeed! Love is not food however, I have to tell my pups that daily! LOL and myself!
Something we can all agree with. It’s hard to resist those begging eyes, but it’s for the best.
Oh tell me about it! Or the nagging which is more like my Lyla lol
Exercise certainly isn’t easy; at least not always. The way the ground is right now, it’s terrible getting through it. Just today, at first I thought I was going to die. Then I wished I died. We did survive, though.
This made me laugh. The ground is either frozen, slick, or muddy. Less than ideal conditions and of course you have to avoid slipping. Glad you survived!
I monitor my dogs’ food intake carefully. If I know they have a special treat coming their way, I give them a little less of their normal food. When we adopted our dog Theo he was about 13 pounds overweight, and his ideal weight is 26 pounds. It took a while to get him to his ideal weight, but he has been within his goal weight for over 4 years now. (Now if only I could do such a good job with myself.)
That’s fantastic Beth! It is harder to maintain a healthy weight on smaller dogs because often humans feel like they aren’t giving them enough when they are. I too need a little more portion control.
So true! Monitoring food right now for Sophie – who just turned 7 – is a challenge. She’s not only an MI6-trained counter surfer, but she puts on weight just from looking at the fridge. Last winter, after keeping her weight down all summer, I thought I’d give her just a smidge more kibble, and she put on 3 pounds in a month. So now I really look at the calorie content of her food and make sure that she gets her walks every day!
Wow, it sounds like Sophie and I have a lot in common. LOL.
Debi @ RescueDogs101
We do all of these also, but I sometimes forget as we go into winter and are less active, to reduce the amount of food. My vet reminded me last year when we went in for Ginger’s check up in January and she noticed she was getting a little more rounded 🙂 Sharing!
Thanks for the share! Sometimes we just need a little reminder for our pets, and ourselves too!
Great information. I looked up how many calories Buffy, my cocker should have, and to lose weight she should only have around 450 – 500 calories (I found conflicting amounts). I had added Dentistix to her diet a few months ago to help clean her teeth along with regular brushings. These were 53 calories! Over a tenth of what her daily intake should be. So I really have to watch it since she has gained over the winter.
That’s a great point! Any time you add in something new to the diet you have to adjust the food portions to reflect that. I know winter is easy to gain weight being stuck inside. I’m really looking forward to spring!
I didn’t know that pet food companies recommend too large food amounts. Good to know! The infographic is so cute! I pinned it on Pinterest.
Yes, it’s a good way to finish the food faster and buy more often. I didn’t realize either until I consulted my veterinarian. Thanks for pinning!
Great info here! About the food, it’s so hard to convince some owners to give the recommended food portions, instead of leaving the food bowl always full!
Yes, I think a lot of people associate food with love.