April is National Canine Fitness Month and that makes us all happy at our house! So many dogs are out of shape and overweight it is very sad. Hopefully a bit of fitness advice this month will help some humans get their dogs back in shape.
How do you know if your dog is fit or not? Besides getting on the scale and checking with your veterinarian, you can get a good idea at home. A dog should have a waist. It is easier to see on less furry dogs, but a dog’s chest should also be wider than her abdomen, with a noticeable tuck-up from chest to stomach. You should also be able to feel your dogs ribs with only a light layer of fat over them.
A fit dog doesn’t mean a dog who can run a marathon. It means a dog who is an appropriate weight, eating a healthy diet, and gets enough mental and physical workouts. Over feeding your pup isn’t a sign of love. A proper diet with fun physical and mental workouts is.
Mental stimulation is not difficult and dogs love it. Not only is it healthy, but when dogs need to solve puzzles it really wears them out. Here are some ideas for keeping your dog mentally fit:
Food puzzles – feed your dog using a food puzzle to slow down her eating and make her work to figure out how to get all of her food out of the puzzle. Kibble works with all puzzles, but even raw works in puzzle bowls.
Put low calorie, healthy treats in a treat ball as a game. Your pup should have to work for treats.
Hide your dogs food or treats around the house so she has to hunt for them. Dogs love the hunt and it provides natural mental stimulation.
Take up a sport like nose work or barn hunt. There is no requirement to compete, dogs can do sports just for fun.
Physical fitness doesn’t have to mean heavy training. Fitness should be fun for you and for your dog, and it may even help keep you fit. Remember to start slow and let your dog build some muscles if she isn’t used to exercising. Some ideas for keeping your dog physically fit are:
Walking your dog regularly and at a good pace. Find new places to walk and explore to keep you both more interested. Don’t walk the same route day in and day out, branch out to new places.
Start running with your dog. Dogs love to run. By running with your dog, your runs will also be a lot more fun.
If you have more than one dog, get them racing, wrestling and playing with each other to burn off some energy and calories. For only dogs, try setting up some doggy play dates with friends.
Try a sport like agility or FastCat where the dog gets to run, jump, and play. While you may have to run some, it is the dog who is doing the majority of the work.
Canine Fitness is so important! Just a couple pounds on your furry friend can shorten her lifespan by two years. Your dog can’t keep herself fit, it is up to you, the human. Get your dog plenty of mental and physical exercise and don’t over feed or give too many treats! Celebrate National Canine Fitness Month by making sure your pup is fit!
My GBGV Life is happy, so we’re joining Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday!