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Healthy Exercises for Overweight Dogs

walking dogswalking dogswalking dogswalking dogswoman and man walking dogwoman and man walking dogJust like humans, exercise can help with weight loss in dogs. Walking is an excellent, safe exercise for your furry companion! If your pet has not had regular exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of exercise. This will help prevent injury, just as they recommend for humans when we start a new exercise regimen. We also recommend having your pet examined by a veterinarian before starting any exercise routine to ensure there are no concerns. Your veterinarian may alter the exercise regimen base on your pet’s needs, such as if they have arthritis, heart disease, or a respiratory illness.

walking dogsConservative exercise to include walking and swimming can help ensure continued weight loss is done safely. When you begin a walking routine, start at 15 minute intervals and increase the time by five minutes every week until you are walking 30 minutes a day. Want to increase to more rigorous activity? Continue the gradual increase until you get to the desired level.  Monitor your pet carefully to see if they are showing any symptoms of pain, such as limping or difficulty rising. Do you need help training your dog to walk nicely on a leash? Our dog trainers offer doggie dayschool and training classes, and we have several articles on our website discussing dog training!

dog swimming with a life jacketSwimming is another great exercise that is easy on the joints and very efficient at burning calories. Many dogs also love to swim! If you take your dog swimming, make sure to use an ear cleaner afterward to clean their ears, and use a doggie life jacket to keep him or her afloat.

Some cautions: many dogs do not tolerate heat well and can suffer from heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke with even mild exercise if it is extremely hot outside. Also very hot asphalt or pavement can burn your dog’s paw pads, especially if they are just starting out on an exercise regimen. You may want to walk in a park where your pet can walk on the grass instead. Also be sure to take along baggies to pick up your pet’s poop!

Avoid exercise that involves quick springs, turns, and jumping as it can increase the chance of straining or tearing ligaments in the knee, especially more risky for overweight and out-of-shape dogs.

If you have any questions about an exercise regiment for your pet, contact your veterinarian at Care First Animal Hospital! 

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