Thursday, April 9, 2009

Weight Control for Your Dog - Fourth and final in the series

Over the last three articles we have discussed the effects of obesity on your dog, checking your dog's weight condition and proper nutrition for weight control.Today we'll cover the other important factor in your dog's plan to stay slim: exercise.

A lack of activity in your dog can cause much more than obesity. Your dog could develop poor muscle tone, heart ailments, bone disorders and increase the chance of emotional or behavioral quirks. An exercised dog may be calmer and less nervous if left alone.

Walking does not have to be your dog's only exercise session. This is a chance to help your dog achieve his "play quota" and have fun with it. Keep in mind that the length of each session will depend on your dog's health condition. Some dogs may be still ready to go after a 2 mile walk, and some may be tired after a short session. Gauge your session to your dog's energy level.

Make the sessions fun for Fido and you, too. Here are a few fun activities you can provide:

  • Fetch - throw a tennis or other soft ball. If you have a fenced area use this, or throw it down a long hallway. Try to throw the ball far instead of high. If your dog jumps to catch a high ball he may land badly and cause a knee injury.
  • Hide and seek - This is a great indoor game. Show your dog a (low-calorie) treat or toy and let him sniff it. Put him in a sit stay. then hide it in a place he can reach but is out of sight. Praise him lavishly when he finds it. Make it harder to find the next time by hiding it in a shoe or a low shelf. To vary it more you could even hide yourself!
  • Form a doggie play group. If your have friends with dogs compatible to yours arrange a time when they can play together. This could be indoors too if you don't have a fenced area. The dogs will find a way to play themselves, but you can get it started with a ball toss.

With some creative and fun activity your pooch will enjoy his playtime and stay lean too.

If you missed some of the earlier posts on weight control you can view it in the blog archive. It is on the far right of the screen under the description about Our Team. It has a drop down menu by month of old posts. If you need help feel free to call Graduate Services at 941.729.5665. We can walk you through it.

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