Unfortunately, obesity isn’t just a human problem. A 2012 study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that more than 52 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Portly pooches may seem cute, but those extra pounds are actually a major health issue. If your pet could stand to lose a few pounds, this treatment will sound familiar: Eat better and move more. Why don’t you commit to getting into shape with Fido? Here’s how:
To shed those excess pounds, both you and your pup will need to change your eating habits as well as the type of things you eat.
- Get a dog food app. Do you know how many calories are in that can of dog food? How much should you be feeding your pet, anyway? Download the free SlimDoggy Lite app for iOS. It boasts a database of more than 1,800 brand-name dog foods. SlimDoggy also enables you to keep track of the approximate number of calories your pup is burning, so you can get an idea of whether you are overfeeding your furry friend. A version for Android devices is currently in the works.
- Check out the ingredients. If it is filled with ingredients you haven’t heard of, consider purchasing a healthier alternative. In addition, look for dog foods that do not contain grains. Many premium dog foods today are made without grains, because this type of diet more closely resembles the type of food canines enjoyed in the wild.
Vow to Exercise
In addition to changing your eating habits, you and your pooch will need to get out and exercise. This is a win-win situation; your dog will love going on more walks, and you won’t have to spend money on a gym membership or log tedious hours on a treadmill. Here are a few tips to help you get and stay motivated:
- Join a Meetup hiking group that allows dogs. Although Meetup sounds like a dating site, it is actually a social networking website where people can create a group for people with similar interests to get together in real life. In most cities, you will typically find a number of hiking Meetup groups for dog lovers. By joining one of these groups, you and your pooch can find new trails and areas to explore. Just make sure you don’t overdo it your first few times out, and remember to bring enough water for both of you.
- Download the free MapMyWalk app. Challenge yourself to go on a walk of a certain distance with your dog every day. With the MapMyWalk app, you can get an accurate picture of how many miles you are covering each day. After a bit, gradually increase the distance you two are walking to increase your workout.