The obesity epidemic has taken America, and many other countries, by storm. It’s even affecting our pets. The same factors that lead to human obesity, like poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, are causing our pets to be overweight too. This trend in weight gain is being linked to an increase in major canine health issues including diabetes, canine cancer and heart disease too.
The saddest part about all of this is that it is completely reversible – we just need to do the work. By monitoring your dog’s caloric intake and making sure that he’s getting the exercise he needs, you can help him maintain an ideal weight. Sometimes that isn’t as easy as it sounds.
When you want to lose weight, what do you do? You start eating healthier and begin working out. Working out on your own can be tough. It’s much easier if you join a gym or sign up for a fitness class. Maybe the same is true for your dog.
Fitness is going to the dogs in New York City, where hundreds of human-canine teams are participating in exercise classes together every day. From Doga to CrossFit with dogs, more and more pet-friendly classes are popping up around the city. Maybe it’s time other cities took notice.
It’s common for dogs to be left home alone for more than 10 hours every day. Some pet parents have a friend, neighbor or pet sitter stop by and play with their pet during the day, but that still leaves Fido alone for a very large part of the afternoon. Sometimes, owners even leave their dogs at home while they’re attending a fitness class by themselves.
Angi Aramburu, founder of Go Fetch Run, says that dogs are the best exercise partners. They enjoy the workout, they don’t complain and they love to spend time with you. What better partner could you ask for? Go Fetch Run holds a total-body workout class that is geared toward dog owners and their canine companions.
The program has become so popular in NYC that Aramburu is in the process of licensing the program across the entire country. Classes run for one hour and exercises include:
- Hill runs
- An obstacle course
- Resistance training
Breeds of all sizes are welcome. Aramburu brings her Chihuahua to classes frequently and her motto is, “If my dog can, any dog can!” Dogs have many of the same issues as people. The quality of the food they are eating is going down. Their daily caloric intake is increasing, but on average their level of activity is decreasing.
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This is a lethal combination that can lead to weight gain, loss of energy and many serious health problems. If not taken seriously, canine obesity can take years off your dog’s life. A few hours each week now could add years to the time that you and your beloved pet have to spend together.
Not to mention, it will probably end up saving you thousands of dollars in vet bills, because your pooch will be much healthier.
Hopefully the rest of the country, and the world will take a note from dog owners in NYC and get their pets outside and active. There are companies around the city that pair dogs with athletes who run and jog every day. One company, NYC Dog Mushers, offers private and group training in urban dog mushing, which is basically like traditional sled dog mushing with wheels.
Just because you live in an urban area doesn’t mean you can’t get out and exercise with your pet. Do you have any tips and tricks for getting out and getting active with your dog? How do you and your Fido like to exercise together? Leave us a comment and let us know or share a photo with us on Facebook or Twitter.