We here at Amigo Animal Clinic want to see our patients live long and healthy lives. Our team of veterinarians, technicians and staff have the purpose to give your pet the best medical care we can. As the pet parent, you play an integral part in maintaining your dog’s fitness at home. For this reason, April is National Canine Fitness Month. The purpose is to educate and remind everyone to keep their dogs active and fit.
Has canine fitness been affected by the pandemic?
Pet obesity has been on the rise over the years. But just as the pandemic impacted our lives, it has negatively affected pets in many cases too. Recent research provided by Hills Pet Nutrition Company reveals that Covid-19 has intensified the pet obesity issue. They found that:
- A third of owners with overweight pets say their pets specifically gained weight during 2020.
- Owners with overweight dogs were more likely to report the pandemic affected their pets’ weight.
- A third of dog owners have problems encouraging their pets to exercise.
- Twenty percent of pet owners admitted to giving pets more treats.
- Overweight pets were more likely to be bored or needy, owners reported.
Poor fitness sets the stage for the perfect storm.
Is your dog eating too many calories, too many treats, and living a sedentary lifestyle? This is just as bad for them as it is for us. There are many physical problems canines can suffer from due to obesity, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition. In the United States, 50 – 60% of dogs are overweight or obese. An overweight or obese condition can put too much stress on the organs. You may see the effects of the damage with diseases such as:
Secondly, obesity in dogs puts too much stress on their joints and ligaments. This condition can result in disease or injuries such as:
Also, be aware that if an obese dog suffers an injury to one knee, obesity increases the chance of damage to the other knee. The reason is that the dog will put more weight and stress on the other good knee to compensate for the injured knee.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should monitor your pet’s diet and exercise.
Tips to Improve Your Canine’s Fitness
- Exercise your dog. If you have not been exercising your dog, take it slow at the start. Also, you don’t want to exercise your dog intensively only 1 time a week. This could cause injury. Well-conditioned dogs are less likely to be injured than dogs that lounge around most of the time and are only exercised on weekends. For this reason, we recommend walking your dog minimally 20 minutes each exercise period at least 3 times a week.
*In some cases, such as dogs recovering from injury, they may require more than just exercise and a weight loss program. If this is the case for your dog, we can help you find a physical therapist that will work with us to get your dog healthy and fit.
- Know what your dog’s weight should be.
- Talk to us about your pet’s diet. You should know how many calories your pet should be eating. We can help with this if you are not sure.
- Limit Treats. I know we have said this before, but I can’t overstress that while it may be tempting to give your pet treats as a form of love, it will do more damage in the long run. We recommend you only use treats as rewards during training.
- Feed a healthy diet. There are many ads for all types of canine diets. We realize it can be confusing how to pick the right one. Again, talk to us about what diet we recommend for your dog. We can also advise you on what ingredients to avoid in pet foods that can cause weight gain.
- Canine Laser Therapy. Our Companion Laser therapy can help alleviate pain and inflammation your pet may be experiencing from their overweight condition.
Your pet deserves the best. You can help your dog stay healthy and fit by following the above tips and bringing them in to see us for their yearly exams. We are here to help you with any medical attention your canine friend may need. To see our services, you can visit our website. And please, contact us if you have any concerns about your pet’s health or need to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Carrica, D.V.M.