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Everything is more fun with your dog!

January 10, 2012

I saw an article today on about pet weight loss programs.  They mentioned a program by Nestle called Project: Pet Slim Down and a program by the British Pet Health Council called Petsercise.  The focus is primarily on pet obesity, but we all know pet owner obesity is at least as big an issue.

Petsercise has pages with tips about doing different types of activities with your dog.  The activities are given a “paw rating” which looks like the intensity of the exercise.  It tells how many calories per hour for each activity.  Included are things you expect like walking and fetch, but also other fun things like volleyball, swimming, and inline skating.

Project: Pet Slim Down has a bit more to peruse including a cat and dog obesity scale (based on body shape), a pet weight loss reality show, and social networking through facebook.  I haven’t looked through it all in detail, but I imagine there are plenty of opportunities to learn about Purina products along the way.  I enjoyed the pet shape scale.  They have dogs and cats.  It had me running around the house palpating my dog and cats’ ribs and checking the prominence of their waists and abdominal tucks.  My pets are all close to the ideal, maybe a touch of extra fat, but not much.  I’ll have to check my outside cat next time I see him.  He gets a lot more exercise living the outside life.

There are numerous articles online about benefits of exercise.  See the CDC, “Physical Activity for Everyone”, and WebMD, “Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity” for more information.  We all know it’s good for us, but it can be hard to stay motivated to exercise regularly.  In the past, people walked more and had to do more physical work in daily life, even having to do a lot more physical work to get food on the table.  Today we work at more sedentary jobs, buy more convenience foods or eat out, have machines to do work like laundry for us, use our cars to get around instead of walking.  Even with our children, the school day keeps getting longer with less time for physical activity, we cart them around in cars to their structured activities.  It’s no big mystery why everyone, including our pets, is getting fatter.

I know exercising with my dog helps me stay motivated.  I know she needs that outdoor activity to keep her happy and healthy, plus it keeps her calmer indoors.  I’m glad I have her for an exercise buddy.

Allie rests after a good run in the park.

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