More than half of American dogs are obese!
Not because they want to be fat, but because we force them. This shortens their already short life. Please ACT NOW and walk… by the way, this will also help you!!
DEAR VISITOR, THIS IS JABU!
I make recommendations to dog owners that want to improve their dog’s life by making it healthier and happier.
I wish this post brings some idea to you… in the name of your non-speaking dog.
GRANT YOUR DOG THE ACTIVITY HE OR SHE NEEDS
Easy: most of the dogs need to exercise around 2 hours per day. That’s all folks!!
Honestly, it is easy. The issue is not our dog, but our own crazy lives.
It is easy to get caught by the day to day work and duties. Our dog will not complain. They cannot speak loudly about their needs. Our dog needs to adapt to its owner’s life. Usually, they are the last member of the pack.
However, if they do not exercise to a sufficient level, bad consequences will start to appear.
SHORT TERM – EXAMPLE BAD WEEK. HOW TO DEAL WITH IT?
Short term refers to days. It is not a big issue unless we move to a medium-term or long term. Basically this will affect their mood. Our dog will be more nervous or anxious.
It can happen to all of us, that we have a difficult week. Either we are working a lot, or we get sick. Unless we have other people that can walk our dog, they will also have a difficult week at their end.
Basically, not exercising enough will affect the mood of our dog. Dogs basically sleep, eat and play or walk. If they cannot walk so much, because nobody is taking them for a walk, they will get bored.
As an alternative, we can try to increase the playtime at home with them. If they are challenged intellectually, this may help to keep them in a good mood.
MIDTERM CONSEQUENCES – BE CAREFUL, THEY GAIN WEIGHT & CHANGE BEHAVIOUR
The issue becomes more serious if we are not exercising our dog enough for many weeks or months.
If our dog is not exercising enough, they will gain weight. This is like with us, maybe not so extreme, since they cannot open the fridge and eat all that they want. Just think that if they take more calories with what they eat than the calories they burn with their daily activity, some fat will be created…
In the medium-term, if this is happening day after day, they will get obese. They will then enter the vicious cycle of less walk, same food, more anxious, gain weight.
Exercise is not only good for them at a physical level, but also at a mental and social level. When they go out for a walk, they have the chance to meet other colleagues, either 2 or 4 legged beings… this is absolutely great for them. They will lose happiness, be sadder, and even some negative behaviors can appear.
Bad behavior from our perspective, is only the evidence that they are not feeling fine. You all have noticed maybe: excessive barking, higher aggression levels, more growling… This will even create more family stress, and in the end our dog will suffer from extra blaming.
LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES – NOT WALKING ENOUGH REDUCES YOUR DOGS LIFESPAN
When we talk about the long term, we talk about years. If a dog is living on the perverse cycle for years, their health will be seriously endangered.
There are plenty of scientists studies that have proven that obese dogs are fond of developing several illnesses. Obesity is related to; heart attacks, arthritis, diseased disk in the spine, chronic kidney disease, diabetes… In the end obese dogs will be seen reduced their quality of life and shortened their actual life expectancy.
Dog’s life span ranges between 10 to 15 years. Unfortunately, all of us know dogs that do not get too near to 10 years because of serious illnesses. Sad, if we realize that the main cause of all these diseases is how do we take care of our loved dogs. Basically feeding them in excess and limiting their activity level. This is clearly a clock bomb that we are turning on with our bad caring habits.
SOME MEASURES YOU CAN TAKE
- Ensure Regular daily walks with your dog
- Do some sport together with your dog: running, cycling, skating, swimming…
- Plan some hiking or a long walk on weekends
- Bring your dog to as many places you can
- Playtime with your dog, at home or even better outdoor
Of course, there are many more. Not to comment on all the dog’s sports or activities as agility courses, freestyle, disk dog, etc. Normally owners already practicing those sports with their dogs, are more active than average. Lucky dogs!!!
ONE CANNOT MANAGE WHAT CANNOT BE MEASURED
I would recommend getting one dog activity tracker. Those devices provide you with digital information about your dog activity. You get how many steps are they making per day. You can then compare this against an average of other similar dogs (breed, size, weight, age…).
In the midterm, this information will help you know better if your dog is potentially facing some disease.
No need to have a GPS, so we avoid subscriptions. It is enough to pick some good ones, for instance, Fitbark 2.
Hope this post has helped you or your dog in some way. Happy to get your thoughts and experience on this relevant topic.
Happy dog walking my friends!!
Credit photo: Princess The Big Fat Dog.jpg, Author: VinnieRattolle, July 23rd, 2014. Wikimedia commons.