Exercise Program for Dogs and Owners

If you're overweight-and your dog is as well, there's a new program right in town to help you both, Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.

"I have a lab; he was severeley overweight. You know how it is, mom taught us food is love.  This program teaches how being fit and healthy is bigger love," Dr. Hensel said.

Stephanie Harvey and her puggle Bailey are getting back in shape. She after being sidelined by a foot injury, Bailey after one too many treats.

"It's really easy to just flip her a couple treats on the ground 'cause she's just, 'cause you love her and you know how happy you'd make her," Harvey said.

She may be happy and pudgy and that's not healthy. Like people, dogs that are overweight are at risk for diseases like diabetes, according to Veterinarian Nancy Soares, "The long and short of it is, that the animals will live at least two years more if they're kept in excellent body condition."

So, with the help of dog trainer Steve Brooks, Stephanie and Bailey are on a workout program they can do together mixing your regular walk with muscle-building lunges.

"I'm working on my gluts and my quads and the dog is learning to do some tricks and figure eights between my legs,"  Brooks said.

A few push-ups can strengthen your upper body while your pooch burns calories. 

"I don't like to do more than four or five in a row, 'cause i think you could confuse the dog if you do too many sit down, sit down, sit down," Brooks said. 

Start out easy, then step it up gradually. It's best for you and your dog.

"We don't want to put a strain on any organs, muscles or tissues that are already not used to being worked out," Soares said. 

Stephanie and Bailey are a source of encouragement for each other.

"I look at her and say 'bailey, we can do this, we can do this together.' and we've made progress, both of us," Harvey said.
"It's not far-fetched. A study in the Journal Obesity shows you're more likely to lose weight and keep it off, if you exercise with your pet. It's a true-blue support system. If you use treats to coax your dog, use cartilage treats like wafers instead, which have no calories and take a long time to chew.  There are medicines to decrease appetite in dogs if they're necessary. If you watch your dogs weight your weight may benefit as well," Dr. Hensel said.

Information about the dog training program and exercise recommendations can be found at http://www.k9u.net
Thank Dog Bootcamp: http://www.thankdogtraining.com/

For general information on pet care and exercise:
The Alliance for Healthier Pets, http://www.petfit.com
American Veterinary Medical Association, http://www.avma.org
ASPCA®, http://www.aspca.org

For information on fitness and exercise for people:
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, http://www.presidentschallenge.com

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