Dogs need exercise, socialization, and outdoor play time just as much as we do. Like humans, if dogs remain inactive, they are putting themselves at risk for cardiovascular diseases including canine diabetes, the risk of cancer and obesity. Without sufficient movement, dogs will become lethargic and will grow tired and acquire weak bones and joints. In 2014, an estimated 52.7% of U.S. dogs were overweight or obese.Because outdoor activity is so important for any dog, this month focuses on keeping man's best friend happy and healthy with the proper nutrition and physical activity.
Dogs that are over-nourished, or obese, lack energy and can lead to severe bodily problems in the bones, joints, digestive organs and organs responsible for breathing. Having this excess of fat can significantly reduce the lifespan of your animal, especially in middle-aged dogs between the ages of 5-10 years old.
Some causes of dog obesity:
- Too much indoor activity
Symptoms of obesity in dogs includes:
- Weight gain
- Excess of body fat
- The inability to exercise
- Trouble moving, standing up/sitting down.
Dogs need a chance to burn off pint-up energy and get at least 30 minutes of daily activity, especially as they age. Senior dogs tend to lose muscle mass faster; and they will need to spend more time exercising to improve core strength. Here are some ways to bond with your pets, both young and old, while getting exercise with your dog:
- Take your dog to a local dog park. Dogs will make new friends and be happier in this environment.
- Throw a ball, Frisbee or stick to your dog and let them run for it.
- Play Hide-and-Go Seek with your dog.
- Walk or run with your dog.
- Swim with your dog.
- Incorporate dog aerobics and play fitness games into your dog training. Have your dog stand-up, jump, spin or roll over.
- Create obstacle courses in the backyard for your dog to run up-and-down, jump over and run freely.
- Send your dog to dog boot camp to get fit from a certified dog trainer.
For pet owners that do not have adequate time to work out with their pets, EasyPetFence encourages dog owners to install a dog fence in the yard for pets to play without being lost, stolen or hurt by external wildlife.
Follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #CanineFitnessMonth.