My Dog Is Overweight: What Are Some Fun Ways to Get My Dog to Exercise?
I brought Simba to the groomer during the end of winter or the beginning of spring in the hopes that a nice wash, de-shedding, and haircut would make it seem as if she had dropped about ten pounds. It didn’t work. When I saw how much weight Simba had put on, I must admit that it took me by complete surprise. It came as quite a surprise to me that she put on so much weight over the course of the previous winter given that I had been able to keep a good handle on her weight during the first winter we spent together. This was her second winter living with me.
Since I use a wheelchair and don’t get noticeably more active during the warmer months, the sudden weight gain was much more perplexing to me than it could have been for someone else. The only other difference I could think of was that I switched her primary dry dog food, in addition to the fact that winter is simply a time of year when most humans tend to be less active in general.
Regardless of the circumstances, winter is done, and with it, the time for making excuses and, I assume, rationalizations has passed. My dog needs to get more activity, and I need to find out how to make that happen so that she can lose some weight.
Overweight and Obese Dogs
Every year, the Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity conducts a study in which they pose questions regarding pets to both veterinarians and pet owners. According to the findings of a study conducted in 2017, almost half of all dogs in the United States are either overweight or obese. In case this information piques your interest, the poll found that sixty percent of cats in the United States are either overweight or obese. This comes up to a total of 106.5 million pets in the United States, including dogs and cats, that are either overweight or obese.
Although Simba and I are not alone in her overweightedness (yeah, I just made up that term), the company we keep is not exactly the healthiest choice for either of us. Perhaps Simba and I ought to launch our own health and fitness club!
Dangers of Being Overweight or Obese
The health risks associated with being overweight or obese in a pet are comparable to those seen in people. A high body mass index (BMI) increases the risk of developing diabetes, arthritis, coronary heart disease, and maybe even cancer. Your dog’s quality of life, as well as their expected lifespan, might both be significantly impacted negatively by any one of these illnesses.
How Should I Play with My Dog?
Here are some fantastic workouts for you and your dog to perform together that I’ve put up. They will be able to burn some calories and eventually lose some weight as a result of the additional exercise, and who knows, maybe you will also lose a little bit of weight as a result of the activity.
Walk or hike to your heart’s content!
I have no idea what it is like where you live, but where I live in Minnesota, there are a ton of walking routes and hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty. I’m not sure what it’s like where you live. Taking your dog out for a stroll around the neighborhood or on a more rigorous trek through the woods, a hilly region, or up a mountain is likely to be a wonderful way for both of you to enjoy some fresh air while also providing your dog with an excellent opportunity to burn some calories. Even if you’re short on time, going for a walk for only 15 minutes is preferable to not going for any walk at all.
Visit the lake for a refreshing swim!
Bring your dog’s favorite floatable toy with you to the lake, whether it’s a ball or something else! A great number of canines feel at home in the water and enjoy swimming. Due to the mild intensity of swimming as a kind of exercise, it is easier on the body’s joints. Because of this, swimming is a fantastic option for senior dogs or for fat dogs, both of which put too much pressure on their joints when they run, therefore swimming is a great alternative for these dogs. They may stay active and cool down at the same time thanks to this wonderful activity!
Have fun tearing around the house, kids!
If the weather is poor or you just so happen to be inside at the correct time, give your cardiovascular system a workout by running about the home. Simba may sometimes get the jitters and make a snap decision to grab a toy and go off! Take advantage of the enthusiasm and energy that your dog is displaying right now and convert it into a chance to get some of those extra calories out of your system! Because our home has a rather lengthy hallway, Simba will often sprint from the living room to the front sunroom and then back to the living room many times in a row. He will do this repeatedly. When she does this, I very often urge her to run in order to assist her in obtaining a little amount of physical activity.
You always have the option of using the stairs, even if your home does not have a very long corridor. If your dog is overweight or obese, you should take it easy at first, but you should still go up and down the steps a few times. You might turn it into a game by throwing a ball down the steps and commanding your dog to get it and return it up to you.
Create an Obstacle Course for Agility!
It is a lot of fun to watch dogs compete in agility competitions on television, but have you ever given any consideration to building your own agility course for your dog to compete in? This might be a fun activity for the entire family to participate in, and you could all have a good time designing the obstacle course and teaching your dog how to navigate it (it could even be entertaining to see your children run it!).
You can get equipment for agility if you shop online, but you can also construct your own if you choose. Put long pegs into the ground for your dog to weave through, grab your kid’s tunnels for him to crawl through, or create ramps or a teeter-totter out of wood from your workshop to keep him active and mentally stimulated.
You can discover a number of people who will teach you how to create your own dog agility equipment on YouTube for a lot less money than it would cost you to purchase it if you did it yourself rather than purchasing it.
Traditional games like Fetch or Frisbee!
You may always go back to the basics and play some of the activities that dogs really like, such as fetch and Frisbee. You can send a tennis ball flying with something like a Chuckit! ball launcher even if you don’t have a terrific throwing arm. You could also play fetch with their favorite toy or a stick you find in the park if you want to add some variety to the game.
Make some Bubbles!
Do you realize how much children like blowing bubbles? Even dogs like blowing bubbles (to be fair, who doesn’t?). You may play a fun game that does not need a lot of space and that can be done right there in your front or back yard by blowing bubbles and letting your dog catch them! Your dog will get plenty of exercise by leaping and racing about to grab the bubbles, and it will be a lot of fun for you to watch them do it!
If your dog has never tried to catch a bubble before, they may be a bit bewildered at first, but all you need to do is blow a few of bubbles and encourage them to run after them. You should pop a few bubbles yourself to demonstrate that there is nothing to be scared of when it comes to the bubbles.
The standard bubbles that are sold in the section of the shop designated for children and are available for purchase often include some kind of soap. Consuming this in minute quantities does not pose any health risks; nevertheless, excessive use will almost certainly cause abdominal discomfort. When you are finished, be sure to clean their face thoroughly since any residue that is left behind might potentially irritate their eyes.
You may purchase bubbles that are specifically designed for dogs if you are concerned about your dog experiencing discomfort or irritation as a result of ordinary bubbles. I recently did some research on them on Amazon, and I discovered that some of them even come with a fragrance. For example, there are dog bubbles that smell like peanut butter and bacon.
Introduce it Cautiously, and Don’t Rush It
Before beginning any new kind of physical activity, it is important for a human being to consult with their primary care physician. The same advice holds true for your canine companion, particularly if he or she is overweight or obese, suffers from arthritis, or has another unique medical problem. It is a good idea to check in with the veterinarian that treats your pets.
Dogs with shorter faces or noses, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, may have greater difficulty breathing; thus, it is imperative that you carefully watch their activities and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it is safe for them.
Beginning a new fitness routine may be challenging on both the physical and mental fronts. Consider drawing up a timetable for yourself so that you can include this time into your day. This manner, it will be somewhat more difficult to “forget” about it.
Keep an eye on the temperature and the humidity level, and if either one is too high, you should avoid going outside. Even dogs are susceptible to overheating. Water should be brought for each of you, so don’t forget to bring some!
Start out slowly, maintain your dedication, and don’t forget to have fun!
What’s your favorite way to exercise and play with your dog? Let us know in the comments below!
⭐💫 Here are Simba’s favorite gadgets! You can click on the image to see the price and delivery details from Amazon, or click on the text to read my detailed reviews!
✅ Next level of fun: Best Interactive Dog Toys
✅ Best for helping your dog to lose weight, click to see even more cheap ideas!
✅ Here is my guide on Large Dog Toy Storage.
✅ How to store pet food & choose storage containers for small spaces?
✅ I chose these poop bags because they are actually biodegradable, and much better for your dog walks!