Getting in shape

It's time, we've long since passed the holiday season; and chocolate filled Valentines day is over.  It's time.  Have you had a look at the dog by your side lately?  Chances are they've packed on a few pounds.  I see heavy dogs all the time.  Dogs who have a few lbs. to shed all the way up to obese Fido's.  When our dogs are fat, there is only one place to look for blame, and that is in the mirror.  

Unless your dog is suffering from some disease, results of medication or genetic defect then the extra weight that they carry is all on us.  Is your dog fat?  Take this very easy test to tell if your pooch could lose a few.  First have a look.  Do they have a waistline, both from the side and when view from the top down?  Depending on their coat length and texture; viewing may not be a great help so you are going to have to feel.  Do you feel ribs?  There should be the slightest amount of coating on their ribs; a very small fleshy feel to the ribs but you should be able to feel each one.  

Most dogs are overweight.  We humans tend to think that treats and treats and more treats are the way to show our dogs that we truly love them.  Yes they love food (most of them anyway) but it needs to be rationed.  Especially if you have a piggy type.  The look of the svelte canine athletic body often has people whispering about being too skinny.  This of course is because we are use to seeing dogs with too much sponge coating over their ribs.  

Along with too much food, most dogs don't move enough.  Just like with humans, there is no magic pill or secret to getting and staying fit.  Eat well and move, that's it.  It is a balancing act and if one gives way to the other then there will be fallout.  If you give your dog the opportunity to run and exercise, great.  But you must also focus on nutrition to fuel your dog's body for movement.  The better the fuel you put in the more nutrition your dog can utilize.  

A couple of years ago when Tilley was stricken with several debilitating health issues; I was forced to carry her up and down the stairs.  When Luke was ill I did the same.  Each time I carried their over 40lb bodies I thought to myself "this is what it would feel like if I gained 40lbs."  It did not feel good and my body struggled with the extra weight.  Thankfully I was able to lift and carry them because I weight train.  But the lifting and carrying left me with a lasting impression.  

Just think about every extra pound your dog has to carry around as you feel for those illusive ribs.  Now factor in that they don't move enough to build muscle to carry that weight.  Their joints suffer, as do many of their organs from extra weight.  

Time to get fit.  While you are getting your dog in shape; there will be added benefits for you as well.  Let's go.