January: National Walk Your Dog Month

What better way to approach the new year with our dogs than taking them for a walk? Walking your dog will increase their metabolic rate which in turn helps them lose weight and increase muscle mass. When you walk your pet, the pace needs to be brisk – not a leisurely pace on a loose leash. If your pet is not able to walk at least a quarter of a mile without becoming short of breath or acting as if in pain, you should have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian.

When you walk, you need to be the pack leader. Your dog should walk at your side or slightly behind you. Don’t let your dog walk in front of you. Walk your dog on a short leash so you are able to manage your dog. If your dog tries to pull ahead constantly, consider a sturdy no-pull harness to discourage pulling. Reward your dog with a small treat for walking at your side.

Obesity and lack of muscle conditioning is a major problem in our pets. Most of us consider our furbabies an important part of our family. They provide so much love and support that we want them to live as long as possible. Did you realize obese patients have a decreased life expectancy of up to 2 1/2 years? Did you realize that many of the diseases routinely treated are triggered by obesity?

Dogs and cats with excess fat are at increased risk for developing diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and many forms of cancer. Some of these diseases are silent destroyers of health, like high blood pressure which leads to kidney disease and strokes. Other diseases like arthritis are simply ignored and blamed on aging. Still others such as diabetes and cancer are terrible diseases that cause pain and suffering. All of these diseases are seen more frequently in obese patients.

Is obesity a disease?
The answer to this question is debated in human medicine. However, it is the leading cause of inflammation in our pets and the precursor of many diseases already discussed. In addition, inflammation products infiltrate many organs causing dysfunction. Yes, obesity is a disease that cannot be ignored and requires treatment. Other diseases are not ignored and would be treated.

Are obese patients suffering?
It is known that human obesity is associated with increased aches and pains as well as a lack of energy. Often as patients and pet parents work to help them lose weight, they are grateful for the increased energy and happiness they experience.

Are you ready to help change your furbaby’s life for the better? It will be hard work and a challenge but you can make a difference in their lives.

Obesity Tool Kit – Click Here!

If are unable to walk your pet because of time or for health reasons, then consider using our conditioning program.

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