Curbing Dog Obesity One Fun Activity at a Time

dog obesity

Curbing Dog Obesity 

In the last decade the United States has seen obesity become a huge issue for society as a whole. Children, teenagers and adults are overweight and experiencing health problems due to our poor eating habits and lack of activity. Our nation is continuously working on providing healthier options and educating the public on food consumption. Who knew this issue would directly translate to our pets.

What YOU Need to Know: Between 20 and 40 percent of all dogs seen by veterinarians in the United States are considered overweight, and many are clinically obese. When a dog is obese they lose speed and stamina, which makes any movement difficult.

Furthermore, a dog can become heat intolerant, where they cannot regulate their body temperature, which can be a serious problem in Miami. Digestive disorders can develop as well.

Carrying extra weight puts more stress on joints, bones, and ligaments causing permanent damage to their frame. In addition, lack of environment change and activity will increase boredom and destructive habits.

Our mission at Equipaws is to keep your pet Fit, Healthy and Happy. Here are some great ideas to start an active journey, to get you and your dog moving! These activities will strengthen the bond between you and your pet, give them mental and physical stimulation and keep your pup in good spirits.

15 Fun Activities for you and your dog:

1. Obedience Class: No matter how well-behaved your pup, Fluffy can always use a brush up on manners. Obedience class offers helpful tips on handling and commands for both owner and dog.This is an opportunity to socialize your dog and strengthen the trust between you two. We recommend Applause Your Paws for enriching discipline for you and your dogs.

2. Bike Ride: Try cycling with your pooch. Walking or jogging may be too slow of a pace for your dog. Having your pup run along side while you cycle is a great trick to get them moving. Be very careful where you attach the leash to the bike. This activity may take some practice and improvising.

3. Hike: Explore your surrounding area! Miami may not be the best neighborhood to “hike”, but seek out new trails in a Nature Preserve or National Park. Dogs love to see, smell and hear new things and a new environments keep them alert and motivated.

4. Doga Session This is a non-traditional yoga session for you and your canine. Doga is explained, “Through acts of meditation, gentle massage, and stretching, doga practitioners seek to achieve a greater harmony with their dogs.” This is an opportunity for the human and dog to work as one unit. Although, if your dog is hyper and can’t stay still this may not be the best option

5. Canine Freestyle Routine: This is a form of obedience and movement training that illustrates the beauty of the dog movement and learning to work as one team. Canine Freestyle is a medium meant to be creative, and visually illustrate the trust between handler and dog. Think synchronized swimming for dogs.

6. Tag or Hide and Seek: While pet sitting this is a favorite game you can play indoors or out. Running up and touching the dog and running away does the trick. They will chase you around the kitchen island or through out the back yard. Dogs love the chase. This gets the owner and dog active.

7. Fetch: Have you ever heard of a chuck it? It’s a tool that acts as a slingshot for a ball, allowing humans to throw a long ball for fetch fanatics. A great tool for fetch in the park and will save your throwing arm.

8. Dog Walk: Having a dog and going for a stroll go hand in hand. It provides a potty break and fresh air for your pup. Humans are creatures of habit, so beware dogs can get bored on their everyday walk. Change your path, tour different neighborhood or go explore the nearest town. You and your dog will love the new sights, sounds and scenery.

9. Frisbee: A backyard game of Frisbee is a nice change of pace from fetch or a walk. Your pup is jumping, running, dodging and working all of their senses for that mid-air Frisbee catch! Plus a Frisbee is a lightweight toy that can easily travel anywhere.

10. Dive In: A pool is a refreshing place to play catch and splash around. In the Fall, many pools in the close for the season and host a doggy play day. This is when canines take over, all dogs small and large are welcome to jump in and play in the water for the day. This is wonderful socializing opportunity and a out of the ordinary activity for your pup.

11. Agility Class: Find an agility class in your area and teach your dog to handle any obstacle. They will be challenged with running up and down boxes, traversing through tunnels and hurdling jumps. It’s a perfect challenge for an eager and active dog, plus practices good handling manners between human and dog. 

12. Herding Class: Perfect for the working & herding dog. These specific breeds love to work, it allows them to use their instincts and release built up energy. The American Kennel Club is a great place to start for more information on requirements, testing and trials.

13. Adventure: Take your pup on an adventure with you. Why not take a vacation, trip or visit a new city with your best friend in tow. Research accommodations before you go, but most places have dog friendly hotels, restaurants and parks.

14. Dog-Friendly Restaurant: We live in a dog loving city with many outdoor restaurants and cafes who are pooch friendly. If you are going out, take your dog too. You both will enjoy the company, but stay away from the table scraps, as it defeats the purpose of staying active. Take a look at our posts on dog-friendly restaurants in Miami for some ideas!

15. Beach: Florida offers a beautiful beach front we have access to everyday. Take advantage and go explore with your pup. Anytime of day it is beautiful with the salty breeze, sand between your toes and waves singing in your ear.

16. Flyball:Flyball is a relay race that requires a dog to race over four hurdles, catch a tennis ball that has been released from a spring-loaded launcher, and then race back over the hurdles again.” This is a wonderful activity for energetic dogs who love fetch, are attentive and social.

17. Visit People in Need: Patients at a nursing home, hospital or rehabilitation center love the presence of a pet. Visits from pups can dramatically help the mood of patients. You and your pet may need to become certified for this activity. Research Animal-assisted activities (AAA).

18. Support Your Pup’s Health While Buying Local: Equipaws partners with a few local businesses, who provide all natural dog food to the community. They agree that portion control is a real issue among pet parents. Dogs always act hungry or beg, so we give them food. We have to train ourselves as pet parents to rid that habit. Consequently, the habits begin with you. A few snacks and table scraps can quickly pack on the pounds.

In Miami, you and your pup have a gorgeous backyard to go explore together. Don’t let your pup fall into bad habits. We Take advantage of these excellent ways to keep your dog Fit, Healthy and Happy. If you don’t have the time give your pup regular exercise Equipaws can help! We offer dog walks, runs and daily adventures. Email us at info@equipawspetservices.com or call 305.794.3733 for more information!

Pet Spotlight: Overweight Dog Gets Exercise

Overweight dog?

 

Overweight Dog? You’re not alone.

Are you family to an overweight dog? Most of us show our dogs love with cuddles and treats. Unfortunately, loving our dogs too much with food and not enough with activity is part of the reason 54% of American dogs are obese. Our clients hire our dog walkers to help overweight dogs lose some of the extra fluff around their middle. Recently, our assistant manager Meghan was enlisted in helping Toby, a grumpy and overweight Dachshund, change his life for the better. We’re all works in progress, and with Meghan’s help Toby is progressing quickly!

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Toby: Pet Spotlight

My most recent and proud pet project has revolved around a grouchy Dachshund named Toby, who is overweight and in need of serious discipline with his attitude, behaviors, and health.

As history tells us, Dachshunds were used for hunting and burrowing after small game animals as well as badger extermination. This fact was a surprise to me! I suppose all dogs had a purpose before they became household pampered pets. In addition, the name Dachshund is German, literally translating to badger hound. In modern times this breed is known to be clever, lively, affectionate, brave, at times impatient, but a devoted family member. Toby fully lives up to this description.

Toby belongs to an older couple, who don’t necessarily have the energy or mobility to take him out for fresh air, exercise or…to do his business. Toby spends his days indoors protecting his adoring pet parents. He uses the bathroom inside and on the porch. In addition, he growls at anyone who comes near his mom, acting tough, but showing clear signs of fear aggression. He looks at you with huge whale eyes and he’s not afraid to snap if you come to close. I would be ill-tempered too if a stranger came in my home, I wasn’t able to explore the outdoors and had a spare tire around my mid section. Fear not! There is a happy future for this little boy.

The behavior described was the old Toby. We have been working together for the past month, three times a week and I am thrilled to report his progress:

First Visit: Before arriving for my first walk, I called ahead to have his Mom and Dad step out of the room, so he would be less aggressive and out of protection mode. As I entered, Toby paced around growling and barking, running away from me. Once he was cornered (yes, this method is intimidating, but I had no other option) I slowly placed the slip lead over his head. Luckily, I have fast reflexes as he tried to nip my hand in the process. I have to place him in a stroller to go through the lobby, as no dogs are allowed. He was trembling in fear on the elevator ride down. I could physically see his whole body shaking. Once outside, he refused to walk, so in a stroller I wheeled him down the street and had him walk back to the apartment. We did a few laps like this before returning. He ran straight to Mom and wouldn’t even look at me.

Second Visit: I dreaded walking in, as Toby has been quite difficult and personally it’s a bit scary to advance on an angry dog. Toby gave me a low growl, but not the intense bark or showing of teeth. Shockingly, this is an improvement. He allowed me to put the slip lead on gently with his Mom and Dad closely observing (or ready to step in if I needed help). This was the first time they stayed in the room while I leashed Toby. Again, progress. He was still shaking in the elevator, but allowed me to pet and comfort him on our way down. I used the stroller less, switching between walking and rolling every block or so. He still didn’t doing his business outside, but that may be have been asking a little much considering his progress.

Third Visit: Both parents were relaxing in the apartment when I came to pick up Toby for our walk. With a little coaxing, Toby slowly waddled his way over to me wagging his tail.  He kept his body and head low to the ground saying hello. He was still shaking a bit with fear, but without any barking, growling, showing of teeth, or nipping. What an attitude change! He walked more and more without the stroller.

Fourth Visit: This was the best report yet! When I walked in, Toby’s tail was high, wagging away, and he ran to the door to greet me with excited barks. After a few “Hi Toby, good boy Toby’s!”, he rolled over on his belly asking for rubs looking at me expectantly. He easily let me put the slip lead on and we were off. His usual shaking had ceased and I could visually see the smile across his face. He truly was a happy boy in the apartment and outside during the walk. In a matter of one month he has become a new dog!

I will continue my mission to improve this little pup’s life. His parents were happy to report he has lost ½ pound since our time together, which is significant for a smaller breed. His behavior and quality of living has dramatically improved due to different company and walks.

Is your pet in the same rut? Does your pup need an attitude adjustment or more attention? Call us at 305.794.3733 and we will Implement daily dog walks and see your overweight dog’s life transform before your eyes!