Have you ever had a massage? If so, I bet you felt great afterward! What about your dog? Will he feel the same way? Absolutely! If you’re not already massaging your dog, you should consider it, especially after exercise. Here are some reasons why.
If you don’t know where to begin, look for a class, a book, or dvds on canine massage. We hold classes periodically, so feel free to contact us for the next class. You and your dog will be grateful!
Why worry about one extra pound on your dog? On a big dog, one pound may not matter, but for a small dog that could mean 10 percent of his body weight.
Lean dogs live longer, healthier lives than those who are overweight. A 14-year study showed that lean dogs can live two years longer and showed fewer visible signs of aging than those that were overweight. It also revealed that lean dogs were a full three years older before they needed treatment for arthritis.
If you want your dog to lose weight and are looking at weight loss diets, be aware that most prescription and commercial weight loss diets are excessively high in carbohydrates and low in both fat and protein. Instead, diets to help your dog lose weight should be high in protein and low in carbs. Dogs thrive on high-protein diets and find them more satisfying. They have no nutritional need for diets that are primarily carbohydrate based.
When weight loss is a priority, you must weigh your dog frequently, especially when first starting a weight-loss program. Aim for weight loss of 3 to 5 percent of body weight per month, or one percent per week. A 50-pound dog should lose about half a pound per week, or 2 pounds per month. Once your dog begins losing weight steadily, you can go longer between weigh-ins, but recheck at least monthly to make sure you’re still on the right track.
Regular exercise is an essential component of a successful weight-loss program. Proper exercise not only burns calories, but also helps to convert fat into muscle, improving body condition. As your dog loses weight and gains muscle, he will become more active, which will further speed up the process. Start your exercise program slowly as an overweight dog’s endurance is most likely low. As his endurance increases, so can the exercise regimen.
Diet and exercise are like a committed couple. Working together produces great results in weight loss and in turn a healthier dog.
People tell us all the time that life is too busy to properly exercise their dogs. Unfortunately, as a result, dogs gain weight, lose endurance and muscle mass, and often wind up spending their senior years in discomfort and pain. But just like with humans, you can change that with proper exercise.
What is proper exercise? That depends on the dog. Young, energetic dogs may require a several mile run, a swim, or 30 minutes of playing fetch, while senior or overweight dogs will benefit from a slow paced swim or a steady walk.
What are the benefits of exercise for your dog? Here are a few:
By their very nature, dogs are more athletic than we are. But with today’s busy lifestyles, dog owners are often challenged to find the time to give their dogs what they need in the way of exercise. If you try, you can find a variety of ways to exercise your dog, from activities that don’t demand much energy on your part to activities that exercise both you and your dog. You just need to find what works best for you.