Get Fit with Fido
Now that it’s February many of us find our enthusiasm for New Year's fitness resolutions dwindling, but studies suggest that exercising with dogs can help reignite the fire.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Hill's Pet Nutrition released the results the yearlong People and Pets Exercising Together study in 2004. The study showed that canine partners can help provide social support and motivation for our own weight loss or maintenance.
“If you give your dog a chance, not only can he be a supportive partner in a weight-loss program, he may be the most committed, reliable, supportive, out-and-out fun workout partner you could have ever hoped for. A dog never offers excuses why today isn't a good day to exercise; you won't catch them checking their watch thinking, ‘I only have this much time to give you,’” said Dr. Marty Becker in an ABC News online article.
Dogs’ health also stands to benefit from increased activity. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 45 percent of US dogs are considered overweight.
A few tools from West Paw Design can help make fitness activities more comfortable and fun for Fido.
At the dog park, the Huck ball, Zisc flying disc and Būmi are great fitness aids because they’re designed to cover a lot of distance when thrown. The Huck gives dogs a mental work out as well since the ball’s grooves make it bounce in unpredictable directions. Because these durable toys also float, they’re equally compatible for water sports.
The new unstuffed Mingo toy or stuffed Salsa toy are perfect if you have space to play chase or hide-and-seek with dogs indoors. The toys’ squeakers engage dogs and set the stage for playful indoor activity.