We don’t need a health study to explain to us why being a dog guardian can help us stay in shape. We shouldn’t forget that canine companions are a very good excuse to get off our butts and engage in some physical activity with our pooch. There’s no need to let our pet adjust to our lazy lifestyle! Okay, maybe we’re not lazy at all. However, it’s the beginning of the year, which means it’s about that time when New Year’s fitness resolutions begin to fade. Let’s take a look at just a few of the ways dog guardians can turn those fading resolutions into habits that will last all year, with the help of our loyal, best beastie.
Get Fit with Fido
Being overweight is just as bad for a human as it is for a dog. It can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other problems. As our buddy ages, he will also suffer from back problems and will be prone to hip and leg joint weakness. If we truly care about our canine companion, then we should ensure he stays healthy and fit. If our own fitness isn’t enough of a motivator to keep going, surely Fido’s fitness and wellbeing will help us get out the door.
Getting fit with our pooch is as good a buddy system as any!
7-Step Fitness Plan
Healthy eating habits. If we’re overfeeding our dog, we will have to start cutting back on the amount of food we give him and the frequency of his feeding. Never give him table scraps, no matter how cute and hypnotizing those little puppy dog eyes are when he wants a bite of our bagel. Adjusting our diet will make it easier to avoid those puppy dog eyes. Most dogs won’t lay it on so thick when we’re holding a protein shake or a salad instead of the usual delights.
Quality over quantity. We can all do a little research about the specific brand of kibble we’ve been giving our dog. Brands with lower calories and higher quality protein are always preferable. We can also start feeding our dog some fruits and vegetables, such as apples and carrots. EcoEats is an all-natural dog food that is wallet-friendly and delicious for dogs. Just prepare a protein to add to their bowl and Fido will be on the closest thing out there to a whole foods diet for dogs, without the overwhelming investment in time and money. As Fido gets used to his new doggy diet, we may as well limit the portions on our own plates. Pro tip: eating on a smaller plate actually does wonders for our sense of fullness and whether we ate enough.
Walk it off. We can take short walks with Fido a few times each day, every day. Or we can commit to one long walk. It doesn’t matter as long as it works for our individual schedules. A great way to keep our heart rates up is by constantly changing the pace of our walk. Walking up and down an incline or a set of stairs also burns more calories than walking on a level path. This is perfect for Fido who loves to run and chase the ball as well as stop and smell the flowers.
Exercise through play. Any activity that gets us and Fido moving will help us reach our fitness goals and get our steps in. As long as we do it regularly, we’ll be healthier. Playtime is a fun way to get moving and burn some calories. Playing fetch and tug-of-war for at least 15 minutes each day may not seem like much, but over time, our daily, active playtime will also add up to a substantial workout. Or we can squeeze in some squats, jumping jacks, and burpees while our dog is fetching his ball. Playtime is also a great stress-reliever and a wonderful way to bond with our fur baby.
Go swimming. Swimming is one of the best full-body workouts we can do with our dogs. If Fido is already in his later years and has weight- or bone-problems, swimming will also help give him some pain relief. And most dogs love water! Just seeing our pooch having tons of fun or slashing for fish would be more than enough to encourage us to stick to the routine.
Create a circuit or interval workout. We can create stations, just like any circuit workout, but these can be workout intervals that get our pooch moving too. Do jumping jacks while you throw the ball down the hall for 60 seconds. Then do push-ups while Fido plays with the treat filled kong for 60 seconds. Follow that up with a squeaky toy tug-of-war for another 60 seconds. And finish the circuit with a plank. The plank variation can be an exercise in the ‘sit’ command for our pups. Or we can practice planking with our pup on our backs. It’s more of a workout for us and a fun bonding game for Fido. While these intervals won’t replace a workout where we’re training for a marathon, they are perfect for those who just need to make sure they get their 20 minutes of activity in every day.
Ride a bike. As long as we do so responsibly, Fido would probably love to run beside us. Instead of taking the car when we go on errands, we can pedal our way around. And while we’re at it, we should also take the longer and more scenic route to make it more fun, and less of an exercise. Stop at the dog park for an extra treat and to let Fido enjoy some unstructured running and socializing.
We shouldn’t take our dog’s weight and health for granted. Being overweight can seriously reduce the quality of his life. And if our pooch has weight problems due to lack of activity, chances are good that we also have the same problem. But together, we can make getting fitter and healthier a fun activity - so much so that it becomes our lifestyle.
What are some ways you enjoy active time with your Fido? Tell us about it by posting and tagging us or commenting on our posts on,