Go fetch! There is an obesity epidemic going on…and it’s not just humans! As humans gain weight, sometimes their four-legged companions pack on the pounds, too. At my Shih Tzu's last vet visit, Maddie was up more than a half pound- which is significant, given that she only weighed 14 pounds prior. As with humans, good nutrition and exercise are key for dogs too. Here are some tips on how you can get healthy with man’s best friend!
- Walking is cheap and effective. It is fantastic exercise for you and your pooch. If your dog isn't used to exercise, make sure to touch base with your vet.
- Mind the temperature! Dogs are susceptible to overheating, especially if they have flat faces like Maddie. If you need to stop and get a drink, chances are your dog needs one too.
Stiff joints? Jump in the pool!
- Just like humans, dogs can benefit from swimming. It’s a great way to cool off and get some good exercise.
- Dog not relating to Michael Phelps so much? Try throwing a bumper or ball into the water. This will allow your dog to become more comfortable with the water!
Mind those portion sizes
- This is something we all struggle with! When you or your dog needs to lose some lbs, reach for those measuring cups! Whether it is ½ cup of veggies or a ½ cup of puppy chow, portion sizes grow when we do not properly measure.
Less treats, more love
- Remember, food does not equal love! Maybe a belly rub instead of a treat? (I'm talking about for your dog!)
- Do not overindulge your pup with treats and table scraps. Spend time with your pet instead of always feeding him or her! Go to the park, take a walk, or play fetch!
- Playing fetch is not only good exercise for your pet, it's good for you to keep your hands busy while you're watching TV. You can't reach for the snacks if your hands are busy with a rope toy or stuffed animal.
Don't get overwhelmed!
- The surgeon general recommends 30 minutes of exercise daily. You can break this up into three sessions of ten minutes each. The same rules apply to your dog!
Bump up the exercise, mind your portions and cut the treats to get you and your dog healthy! (And yes, the above photos are of me and Maddie! She's finished more than two dozen 5k races. And I've only had to carry her during two.)
Stacy oversees public relations and strategic communications for Methodist Health System. Stacy spent more than a decade working as a TV news producer after graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. You can find Stacy and Maddie on dog-friendly patios in the Uptown area, often cheering on the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs.