Keeping your Dog Lean and Healthy with a Regular Exercise Routine and Low-calorie Treats

Keeping your Dog in Tip-top Shape through a Regular Program of Exercise

Exercise and low-calorie treats will keep your dog in tip-top shape even when he is
older and begins to slow down.

It's important that you exercise your dog as the activity not only reduces his appetite
but improves his conditioning. In addition, a regular regimen of activity speeds up
your pet's metabolism, which aids in burning calories and maintaining a healthy
weight.

Healthy, low-calorie canine treats you can incorporate in your dog's diet include:

-- Low-calorie formulated commercial dog treats
-- Green beans
-- Fruit slices, such as bananas or pears
-- Melon cubes
-- Carrot slices
-- Cooked lean meat
-- Plain rice cakes
-- Air-popped popcorn

Different Breeds require Different Amounts of Exercise

So, what types of exercise are best for your dog to pursue? That depends on his overall health, age, and breed. For example, the exercise requirements for terriers, hounds, herding dogs, or sporting dogs (6 months to a year and a half years old) can be quite high while exercise routines for older or overweight dogs should be carefully monitored. Therefore, if you tend to be athletic yourself, be careful about exercising a dog that is less than lean in hot or humid weather. Consult with your veterinarian before you embark on a program of regular exercise, especially if your dog is older or overweight.

Suggested Activities

The following exercises are great ways to get your pet moving and satisfy his natural instinct to chew, chase, herd, dig or retrieve things. So, get into the habit of involving your pet in such activities as:

-- Walking
-- Running or jogging
-- Playing fetch
-- Swimming (if he loves the water)
-- Playing tug-of-war

Playing Tug-of-War: Make sure your Dog Understands the Rules

If you play tug-of-war, you'll need to teach your dog a command to release hold of the toy, such as Drop It! Also, you'll have to find a dog toy that is made especially for playing the game. Make sure that it is both pliant and sturdy. Typically, tug-of-war toys made of rubber are easier to use and keep your hands safely away from your dog's teeth. When playing the game too, stay in a roomy space or area, indoors or out, that is free from distraction. Playing the game can incite your dog to growl. So, as long as he emits a soft growl and nothing more, you can continue playing. However, if your dog becomes overly aggressive or he starts to nip or bite, issue the Drop It! command to play it safe and let him know that biting or loud growling is not part of the rules of play.

Getting into a Routine of Regular Exercise

You can ensure that your dog is regularly exercised by scheduling a time each day for walking or playing. If you walk him, work up to a fast walk of ten or fifteen minutes once or twice each day. If your schedule is too hectic to walk him yourself, retain the services of a dog walker. You might also consider adopting another dog so your dog will be encouraged to exercise more. Or, you might think about enrolling your pet in doggy daycare so he'll get plenty of exercise and make new friends as well.