Let’s talk about “FIT, NOT FAT”
In any successful weight-loss program, exercise is crucial because it’s the only practical way to make sure you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming. Physical activity is just as beneficial for pets as it is for people. For some dogs, their only exercise is a brief walk or two each day, largely to relieve themselves, not solely to encourage exercise. Most indoor cats have no reason to hunt for prey, defend their territory, or do little more than walk to their dish for a meal. Unless encouraged by their owners to exercise, most cats and dogs spend their day napping. The more weight there is to carry around, the more inactive your cat or dog becomes and the harder it gets to exercise and reduce weight. It’s a vicious cycle.
You are the key to a successful fitness program for your cat or dog. You set the routine, find the motivation, use your creativity, and are responsible for getting your pet out there exercising. Try to create a routine and stick to it. Most pets won’t exercise by themselves. Dogs and cats may play with one another or entertain themselves briefly with toys, but as the pet parent, it’s your job to direct exercise play and keep your pets active. If you want to try something new, doggie yoga, pet treadmills, and personal pet trainers are readily available.
All exercise plans should start off slowly, initially exercising a pet only as much as they can comfortably perform—especially if your pet is fat and out of shape—working up to 30 minutes twice a day for dogs and 15 minutes once or twice a day for cats. Once weight loss occurs, your pet should be able to exercise longer and the amount and intensity of exercise can be gradually increased. As they lose weight, most pets will experience an increase in mobility and energy level and will look and feel better.