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How to Lose Weight and Keep Your Dog Healthy by Walking

Updated on May 9, 2017
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

The nicer the scenery, the more likely you are going to take a long walk.
The nicer the scenery, the more likely you are going to take a long walk. | Source

Can you really lose weight by walking your dog?

Of course you can! You probably already know that it can benefit you both, and now it has been proven.

A study at the University of Missouri showed that walking the dog was actually more effective for weight loss than having a membership in a gym or joining a diet plan.

If you weigh about 150 pounds and try to walk briskly, you can burn up to 135 calories for every 30 minutes you walk. You might burn less (based on your weight and the speed at which you walk), but the point is the same. The more you walk, the more you will burn.

Source

Do I Have To Spend A Lot Of Time Walking The Dog?

Participants in the Missouri study only walked the dogs 20 minutes at a time, five days a week. This is totally inadequate for most dogs. They really need to be walked every single day, at least a half hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon. The weight loss benefits would obviously be better if you walked your dogs more often and more consistently.

(If you have a dog like a Pug, Shih Tzu, or Bulldog this is not true. They cannot walk as far nor as long as the breeds with normal anatomy.)

If your dog looks up at you and asks to go for more, you will lose more weight.

No beach available? A walk in the park is nice.
No beach available? A walk in the park is nice. | Source

How Much Weight Can I Lose by Walking My Dog?

The Missouri participants lost an average of fourteen pounds over the year they walked. This is not a fad diet plan or a miracle weight loss product, but all dog owners can do that well or better. The most important thing is consistency.

If you walk your dog twice a day, your body will get into the routine of burning calories. Your dog will come to you for that walk every morning and every evening and it can become an essential part of your life. If you want to lose more you can add ankle weights, hike on trails that require a lot of effort, or walk more often.

Dogs off leash loose even more weight.
Dogs off leash loose even more weight. | Source

Are There Alternatives To Walking?

If you really want to give your dog a workout, there are even more alternatives for burning calories. Jogging will not use up a lot more than brisk walking but healthy dogs love it. An even better alternative seems to be biking. Biking burns up more calories (about 300 an hour) and dogs really enjoy the workout.

(Be careful with brachycephalic breeds. They really cannot handle the running.)

Source

Can I Start My Walking Program Today?

Before the University of Missouri program started the participants were all examined fully by a physician. If you are in poor shape and have not been walking your dog regularly that would be a good place to go before beginning your walking.

If your dog has been kept up in the house and gained weight you should also take him in for a physical exam from your veterinarian before beginning a weight loss program.

Source

Will Walking Help My Dog Too?

What is the great difference between you and your dog? Your dog can not open the refrigerator door. When she gets hungry all she can do is whine and beg to be fed. When you get hungry you can open the refrigerator and find what you want. It is understandable why so many people are overweight. It is not easy to understand why so many dogs are overweight. Really, do it now! Take your dog on a long walk every day and burn up some of those calories, for both of your sakes.

I am no weight loss/fitness fanatic but I take my dog for a walk three times a day. If you cannot walk your dog in the morning because of work, get up a little earlier. Take a few minutes in the evening when you get home and relax by walking. At night, after you turn off that computer or finish watching your favorite TV show, dedicate a half hour to your health.

A walk is going to help you both sleep better. You´ll also go to bed knowing that you lost a little more of your excess weight that day!

You will lose weight walking the dog and keep her happy too.
You will lose weight walking the dog and keep her happy too. | Source

© 2012 Dr Mark

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    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 2 years ago

      Great hub! I love walking my dogs! It is so relaxing and invigorating! Voted up.

    • profile image

      Kassi 2 years ago

      That's a cracekrjack answer to an interesting question

    • profile image

      DoItForHer 5 years ago

      *imitates Jim Carrey* "Like a glove!"

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      DoItForBothOfYou : what do you think of the new moniker? Does it fit?

    • profile image

      DoItForHer 5 years ago

      Waffy and I do a lot more together than we would do individually. We both get comments on how young we seem despite our graying faces!

      /(^•^)\

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      yes! Thanks for asking.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi Rebecca do you use the ankle weights?

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      After a while, it seems I need to add weights or I don't really loose anymore, I sort of hit a plateau. I suppose everyone is different. Great Hub, what cool photos!