5 Simple Ways to Lose Weight With Your Dog
Many pet owners think of their companions as more than just pets – they are members of the family. If this is how you feel about your pet, you probably want to spend as much time with him as you possibly can. Unfortunately, many of the same health problems that threaten to shorten your own lifespan can affect your dog as well – being overweight is one of them.
But New Year’s Resolutions are doomed to fail. You put too much pressure on yourself, and if you mess up once, you abandon your best laid plans. Instead, try setting a small goal or two that will bring you closer to your overall goal. And if that goal is to lose weight, we have five easy ways to incorporate your dog into those starting steps.
- Go for a Walk or Run
If you have a dog, you probably already take him for a daily walk, but how long is that walk? If you’re honest with yourself you might admit that you don’t walk your dog as long as you should or that your walking pace is too leisurely to really get much benefit. To get the most benefit out of walking your dog, aim for three 20-minute walks spaced throughout the day and walk at a brisk pace. If you are up to running, you can work with your dog over the course of a few weeks to increase his stamina so the two of you can go running together.
Related: Running Buddy Helps You Go Hands-Free on Dog Walk
- Work in Some Extra Play Time
You probably don’t take your cat for daily walks, if you have one, but you can still give him some extra exercise at home. Engaging in active playtime with your cat is good for both of you and it burns calories too! To get your cat moving, try tying a favorite toy to a string or use a laser pointer. It may not be as much exercise for you as for your cat, but taking even a 5- or 10-minute break from sitting can be beneficial for your health.
- Choose Healthier Treats
There is nothing wrong with a little bit of indulgence now and then, but overindulgence can lead to unhealthy weight gain, both for you and for your pet. For your own diet, try to reduce your intake of processed foods and increase your intake of natural foods like fresh fruits and veggies. You may even be surprised to learn that some of the treats that are healthy for you and great for your pet too! Swap some of your dog’s store-bought treats for pieces of carrot, sweet potato, apple, or strawberry.
Related: How To Start Running With Your Dog
- Rack Up Some Shorter Sessions
If you work a full-time job and care for a family, finding a spare 30 minutes to walk the dog may be something of a luxury. For both you and your dog’s health, however, you should get as much exercise each day as you can. If this means going for a few 5-minute walks around the block or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator, do it! For your pet, try putting his food dish and sleeping area (or litter box for a cat) at opposite ends of the house so they have to walk back and forth.
- Be More Mindful of Portion Sizes
Your dog will eat just about anything you put in front of him and you may find that the same is true for you if you sit down with a bag of chips or a box of cookies. One of the easiest ways to lose weight is simply to eat a little less. To control your own portions, never eat from a box or bag – always put your food in a bowl. You might even measure out your portions, if you’re really serious about it. For your pet, re-evaluate how much you’re feeding him and compare it to the feeding recommendations on the package. If he’s gained or lost weight, adjust his portion accordingly.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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