Fact: Dogs are people-pleasers. When you want to spend the weekend binge-watching a new show, they usually do too. Similarly, your guidance is everything as far as living a healthy life; when you’re not doing your best to stay fit, there’s a good chance they’re not either. (Even if they crave activity instinctually, they can’t exactly jog around the neighborhood without you.) The result? A little too much sitting and staying. For the dogs—and their owners—who need that kick in the tail to start working out more and eating right, these expert tips are for you.
1. Take it slow
You’re not going to go from couch to marathon in a week—and neither is your dog—so don’t beat yourself up for exercising at your own pace. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that light joggers live longer than strenuous joggers.
“Exercise is exercise,” says Dogtopia canine behaviorist Colleen Demling-Riley. “So you don’t have to start off by taking them on a five-mile hike. They’re going to hate it, you’re going to hate it. Everyone’s gonna hate it.” Instead, Demling-Riley suggests taking it one step at a time: Jog half a mile and walk half a mile, for example. Be aware of each other’s stamina, and work as a team.
2. Outsource your dog’s exercise
We get it: Not everyone has the time, or energy, to go from work to sitting in traffic to the grocery store to letting your dog out, and to fit in the gym. If you’re a nine-to-fiver (who’s more of an eight-to-niner), take some pressure off yourself by finding a doggy daycare service, like Dogtopia, that’ll take care of your pup’s exercise for you.
With the help of “canine coaches,” Dogtopia offers up to 10 hours of playtime on compressed rubber floors (to help reduce joint pain), as well as brain games to help improve your dog’s manners and behavior. The company also guarantees your dog will find their BFFF (best furry friend forever) at one of their 130-plus locations. Now if only they had a place like this for humans…
3. Explore the great outdoors
Despite some breeds looking like they’d be blown away by a slight breeze (we’re looking at you, chihuahuas), dogs are meant to be outdoors—as are humans. Multiple studies show that being outside can improve a person’s memory, lower heart rates, and decrease their risk of disease. As for your workout buddy, you may need to add in some variety—switching it up between hiking, running, and walking—in order to keep them interested.
Thiemi Higashi / EyeEmGetty Images
“Don’t always go on the same run,” says Demling-Riley. “Dogs love new sights and smells, so changing your route will help them get more exercise because they’re naturally more engaged.” She recommends 90 minutes of walking outdoors on weekends, or try running once you two work up to it. (Bonus: Both are a totally free bonding activity.)
Eva Blanco / EyeEmGetty Images
4. Eat more blueberries
A healthy diet doesn’t always have to mean downing kale smoothies, kale pizza, and cream of kale. For a low-calorie snack that’s as filling as it’s tasty, try sharing some antioxidant-rich blueberries with your pup. The fiber- and vitamin C-filled fruit has been shown to improve the health of dogs, too.
Demling-Riley recommends swapping them with your fur child’s usual treats every once in a while. “A lot of dogs are overfed,” she says. “They’ll be fed breakfast, lunch, a mid-morning snack, an afternoon snack, and a couple of cookies cause they’re cute, and so on and so on, so you lose count of the calories during the day.” Other healthy dog-friendly options include broccoli, brussels sprouts, pumpkin, and more.
5. Reward yourselves
It takes a lot to break bad habits and turn your lifestyle around, so treat yourself—and your partner in crime—accordingly. Allow yourself a well-earned perk every now and again: a delicious smoothie with some fancy nut butter, those dope CrossFit shoes you’ve been lusting after for months, or a personal-training session.
And to reward your furry fella for a job well done, how about a luxurious bathing experience via Dogtopia’s spa services? After all, returning the happiness your dog brings you is the gift that keeps on giving.
Source: Read Full Article