Candi Amundson, CVT
Associate Veterinary Information Specialist
No more flake-outs, “sorry can’t make it,” or complaining about the terrain or hills. Your furry training partner can quite simply be the answer to your work-out woes! Estimates show that 40%-50% of dogs in the US are overweight and 25% of dogs are obese (AAHA). More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity (CDC). As you may already know, obesity and being overweight has a substantial impact on animals and people in the U.S.
Many studies have been performed evaluating the level of exercise with and without pets and commonly people who own pets are generally more likely to work-out! Purdue University is continuing to study this subject with dog owners in the Dogs PAW (Dogs, Physical Activity and Walking) study. Elizabeth Richards; an assistant professor of nursing states,
“Engaging in exercising can be intimidating for some people if they feel overwhelmed by the gym environment or the amount of time or intensity they should achieve,” she says. “But there is something accessible for many people when it comes to dog walking, and the bond between owner and pet is certainly part of that.”
The staff at Pet Poison Helpline also feel that working out with pets (and exercising the pets) are very important. The staff have been surveyed and the results are in! Here are a few ideas from our colleagues to get your pets involved in your daily workout.
I put my 65-pound dog on my shoulders and do a few flights of stairs. He also lets me do bicep curls!
Run, Hike, Walk, & Rollerblade!
Yoga with your cat.
My brother has boston terriers and when he was a puppy he would tuck the puppy in his backpack and wear on his chest during bike rides.
Swimming with your bulldog or kayaking.
My husband does yo-yo tricks with the bird and I chase the hamster around the house after it chews out of its cage.
I have a friend with 3 overweight pugs that they walk on a treadmill.
Playing Pokémon Go with your dog!
I take my elderly Chihuahua to ‘Doga’ classes – yoga poses that you do with your dog to help them with flexibility and relaxation.
Walks! Outdoor or indoor (weather permitting). We always use this app that tracks our walk (distance, route, mph) and earns a donation to the animal shelter of our choice.
My dog is blind and has a rear limb disability. I push her in a stroller around the park near my house.
I see people paddle boarding with their dog, even some wear goggles to protect the eyes.
I take my dogs to the beach and throw ball.
My kitten likes to lay on the mat while I’m doing yoga and drape herself over the dumb bells I’m using, and she loves to lay on the treadmill.