Have you started to notice your dog’s sleek physique giving way to something more amorphous? Maybe your vet has picked up on the extra treats your sidekick’s been scoring, or perhaps lethargy has set in after a long rainy season. Whether it’s a few pounds or many that your pooch has put on, don’t worry, he’s not alone, and neither are you. With nearly half of U.S. dogs diagnosed as overweight, there’s plenty you can do to help your buddy get back to his youthful state, and the approach is thankfully pretty painless. Simple solutions and adjustments to regimens can make all the difference and are within easy reach.
What we know for sure is that an active dog is a happy dog. You might wonder how much daily exercise your dog needs, especially if she’s carrying extra weight. While your vet can offer specific recommendations, there are some general guidelines you can follow to get the ball rolling. Typically, the ideal amount of exercise is dependent on age, size, and breed, but a safe and basic regimen looks something like this:
- For toy breeds, aim for approximately 30 minutes a day
- For non-sporting dogs, 45 minutes is optimal
- For terriers and working dogs, 60 minutes
- For hounds, herding, and sporting dogs, 90 minutes
Regular exercise for (and with!) your dog will reduce the risk of health problems ranging from arthritis to heart disease, not to mention give you both the opportunity to bond through health and endorphin release (these are the happy feelings that course through mammals, and you can be sure your dog will release plenty after a good walk or frisbee session).
2. Consistency + Nutrition
If you’re looking for a fast way to get your pup in shape, remember that consistency in both exercise and nutrition is key. Time of day, quality, and quantity of food make all the difference. While it is important to check with your vet before making big changes, you want to be sure to feed your dog at regular intervals—ideally twice a day—and introducing superfoods into your dog’s diet can be a great way to boost her nutrient intake. With your vet’s approval, these foods can revitalize your dog and supply her with the kind of energy that’ll power a serious game of fetch:
- Raw or cooked broccoli (anti-carcinogens can promote heart health in older dogs)
- Carrots (to benefit teeth, immunity, eye health, and your dog’s skin/coat)
- Eggs (for high-quality protein, amino acids, and essential fatty acids)
- Wild-caught sardines—the canned version are perfect (for heart, brain, and joint health)
- Unsalted bone broth (another good source of protein with anti-inflammatory amino acids vitamins, and minerals)
- Cooked or canned pumpkin (rich in antioxidants and high in fiber to aid digestion).
3. Use an Activity Tracker
With a multi-pronged approach, you’ll notice your dog dropping extra pounds in no time. Being able to track your dog’s activity like step count, sleep time, and exercise makes the goal attainable and fun. The free Wagz App, in concert with the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar, takes the effort out of keeping track of these variables yourself by using Fit Units* to provide a measure of how much energy your pet is expending. Using the Freedom Collar allows you to monitor and understand your dog’s activity and well-being through an overall Health & Happiness Score, which can be viewed on the Wagz App. Having a clear path to attaining goals for your pet is crucial, and the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar and app together steer you and your pup confidently down that path.
*Fit Units are a relative measure of how much energy your pet is expending; step counts, exercise, sleep time, etc. Our patented Kognition™ platform takes data points into consideration and lets you know how active your pet is from day to day.
4. Monitor Stress
A surprising tip that benefits both pets and parents alike is the all-encompassing art of stress reduction. Because your dog often mimics and—at the very least, observes—your behaviors, your opportunity to shine as a role model lies here . You can invite your pal into your moments of calm, however long or short, to encourage him to see what it looks like to slow down. This helps your sidekick get better sleep, which—believe it or not—is a significant factor not only in general demeanor but with weight loss. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to meditate, here it is. And now you have every reason to include your dog. There’s no better way to instill a sense of well-being than creating a routine around love and balance, two things that help our furry friends flourish and thrive, both inside and out.