Tis’ the season for big family dinners, sweet treats, and new year resolutions. Many people this time of year choose to get in shape and lose weight. Having your dog help motivate you is a great way to stay on track. I know that I need to shed 20lbs and Kilo could also lose a pound or two.
Here are a few of our ideas on how to shape up, have fun, and lose weight with your dog.
Change Your Attitude
- De-stress and get active
Your mood and stress levels can really affect your weight.
There is evidence that increased stress can cause increased levels of the hormone cortisol which may increase appetite, help cause higher insulin levels and lead to cravings for fatty sugary junk food. Higher stress levels make also make it easier to accumulate belly fat – I have definitely seen that over the last few years.
Exercise not only burns calories, but it can also help to reduce stress levels and to release feel-good hormones or endorphins that should naturally make you feel better and less hungry.
Be proactive and take on a positive outlook for you and your dog. Set reasonable fitness goals and remember to keep it fun for both of you.
Watch the diet and snacks
- Remember quantity and quality
Cut back on the high-calorie snacks by substituting healthier options for you and your dog. Kilo and I love chips, peanut butter, cheese, and bread but we also love raw veggies, like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and green beans so we try to have more of them. You can also try low-calorie treats like frozen yogurt or frozen fruits (watch out for any artificial sweeteners like xylitol as very toxic for dogs).
Weighing yourself and your dog every week can also help you chart your weight loss progress. Remember, just a one or two-pound weight loss on a sixteen-pound dog like Kilo the Pug is a very significant change.
- Start short and often
Most dogs love to walk and should be let out multiple times a day. Good walks together get you out of the house and provide you both with fresh air and mental and physical stimulation. I have bad knees and Kilo is a small dog so we keep ours short but frequent. My favorites walks are in the Toronto Brickworks near my house and down by the waterfront. Make sure to wear boots as I was filming at the waterfront on Christmas Day walking and running with Kilo and slipped on some ice- embarrassing and painful.
We also go to a Pug Meet Up or Grumble in a gorgeous large local park once a month with Helmut the Pug, Tyson, Fishstick and many others. I confess that I enjoy that more than Kilo but he is gradually getting more social.
Using a FitBit is a great way to track your steps and stay motivated. Buy Yours HERE through my affiliate link like I did.
Dance or Canine Freestyle
Dancing with your dog at home or in a Canine Freestyle class can be a really cool way to bond and get fit with your dog. Kilo the Pug has some amazing spins and jumps. We have been working on a routine and we both enjoy it a lot.
Get inspired by Dancing Stars Twyla Tharp and Cassandra who offers classes at Cassandra’s Canines.
Yoga and Pilates
- De-stress as you stretch and strengthen
Yoga is a great way to strengthen your body while increasing your flexibility and relaxing your mind. Doga took the internet by storm and many people are attending classes that allow animals in the studio. I have even taught Kilo the Pug to unravel our Yoga Mat.
Grab Some Weights
- Use weights, household items or your pet!
Weight-lifting is a great way to shed the pounds and create definition on the body. Many people are finding new ways of incorporating their pets into their workout. I do some basic floor exercises. Kilo jumps on me and I use him like a weight. Plus I help him go up and down and work on his core.
I’ll let male model and social media star Travis DesLaurier, who I had the pleasure of meeting at BarkWorld, give you an example.
K9 Fit Club
- Hit the gym with your dog
A new trend that some gyms are introducing is the belief that the path to getting in shape is to have a workout partner with four legs instead of two.
K9 Fit Club’s aim to create healthy lives for dog owners and dogs alike by inviting members to bring along their hounds as they work to drop pounds. The club’s employees are specially trained to get not only humans into shape but their canine companions as well. I often work on exercises with Kilo to help his core and balance.
- Agility, disc, fetch
You can sign up for classes at local dog facilities like All About Dogs and PawsWay Toronto, take your dog to a local dog park or try setting up your very own courses in your house for your dog. Just be sure it’s safe. Get creative and make a simple obstacle course inside your home with pillows, towels or old blankets.
Running with your dog through the course is a great cardio workout for both of you.
When the weather is too nasty out to ride on the road a stationary bike at home is a great alternative and much safer. Watching a video like this on YouTube is just like having a private spin class in the comfort of your own home. I ride mine and get Kilo to do tricks, toss his toys or give him a treat ball to chase around our upstairs area.
Swimming has many health benefits for both dogs and humans as it is a low impact full body workout. It is also a great option for seniors who may have joint pain or anyone recovering from injury.
Smaller dog breeds may even fit in bathtubs. Just make sure the water is at a comfortable warm temperature and you are supervising carefully.
For more ideas read: 10 Great Ways To Get Active With Your Dog