Yoshi just had her 3rd birthday! We are all amazed that we’ve had her for three years already. She’s such a big part of our lives and it’s been wonderful for the kids to grow up with such a great dog. If you can believe it, Logan used to be scared of dogs, you’d never know it these days!
This post is sponsored by Purina and a FitBark was provided.
When we got Yoshi from the shelter, she was simply labeled as “Hound.” Back then I was thinking she might be part beagle.
But now that she’s three, her growth has slowed down. Even so she is definitely a sporting type dog that needs lots of exercise. Her health is important to us, that’s why I was excited that Purina hosted a Google Hangout with Dr. Kurt Venator to discuss how pet owners can help their pets stay fit and healthy during the summer.
Here is some of the information he shared:
Did you know that 58% of pet cats and 54% of dogs are overweight?
When pets are overweight they are not comfortable, can increase anxiety and cause other problems
How do we know if our pets are not getting the right amount of exercise? The first thing that many owners notice is obesity. Just like in people their metabolism slows down. it’s important to know what you are feeding them and how much and how much exercise they are getting
What is the ideal body condition for dogs? Purina did a 14 year lifelong study in Labrador Retrievers that showed that if you can keep dogs in ideal body condition, it can help keep them around 2 years longer. There is a 9 point body condition score sheet on Purina.com that you can download and then evaluate your cat or dog
Tips for exercising your dogs in summer heat:
- If your dog panting is a lot, wanting to sit down etc these are signs of excessive fatigue and you should stop immediately
- Make sure they have cool water and have them relax in the shade
- Keep in mind, if the weather is uncomfortable for us outside, it’s going to be uncomfortable for dogs
- Exercise very early in the day or at night when the temperatures won’t be unbearable for them
How do you motivate a dog or cat that loves to lay around? Make it a point to find out what motivates them, food, treats, snuggles, etc. In fact, cats can be trained to walk on leashes. Cats also enjoy the enrichment you can provide them inside the house: chasing laser pointers, fishing pole type toys, etc.
What are some things pet owners should be doing to find the right fitness for their pet? First consult your vet, even when pets are going through their physical exam a well trained vet can advise a great deal. See your vet regularly to make sure there are no preexisting conditions: metabolic conditions, bad knees, etc. Your vet will help you put together a program for your pet, and may say lets start slow, advising on the appropriate level of exercise.
When should we start exercising pets? All adult dogs and cats should be exercised as long as there are no preexisting conditions. They should get at least 30 minutes of activity a day. Once puppies are done with their vaccines they can get out to puppy parks and play dates etc. When cats are about 8 weeks of age good time to introduce toys.
What about exercise for an just adopted older pet? When you adopt that older pet, make sure they are in good physical health before you start exercise. Listen to your vet. Certain breeds as well as certain pets that are obese can be more prone to musculoskeletal issues, or they may be slowing down from osteoarthritis. You can talk to your vet about particular diets for older dogs or dogs with osteoarthritis. When you get the go ahead, start with a slow walk around the block, swimming is also great. If your vet agrees, over time you can build up the amount of exercise.
What about pet owners who live very busy lives and don’t have time to get themselves in shape let alone their pets?
- Make sure everyone in the family is on the same page and wants to partake and has an interest in taking care of the health and well being of the pets. Get the family involved.
- If you have to make phone calls challenge yourself not to just stay inside and make those calls, do so while walking the dog.
- Even if you are really tired, while watching Netflix throw the ball, use the laser pointer, etc.
- Enlist the help of dog walkers, especially during the summer months, college students are back and are looking to make some extra cash
Pets help reduce blood pressure and increase activity levels, in fact Purina recently surveyed over 1500 Americans:
- Over 50% of respondents felt that exercising with their pet increased their fitness level
- 85% of the respondents indicated that exercising with their pet at their side make exercise more enjoyable
- Over 50% of people believed that if someone wants to get in shape they recommend getting a pet
- 65% of respondents felt more motivated because they had a dog, to exercise
What are some tips for running with dogs?
- Make sure they are cleared by vet
- Make sure you do it at appropriate time of day and it’s not too hot
- Make sure they behave well on the leash, even if they aren’t perfectly trained they should be familiar with basic commands – sit, stay etc,
- Take it easy the first day, intervals can be good
- Offer lots of praise including verbal commands, voice inflections, touching, and scratching
What about food? Make sure food you select is appropriate for both life stage and lifestyle. You could have two different dogs requiring two different caloric amounts. It’s important to avoid table scraps. Give treats responsibly, not too large of pieces or too many.
Purina aims to drive the health and well-being of pets and their owners so they can live bigger, healthier, and happier lives together.
For more information, visit Purina.com.
We are excited to try the FitBark to track Yoshi’s activity and to make sure we get her the appropriate amount of exercise. Stay tuned for an upcoming post showing her results.
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