How to Lose Weight and Keep Your Dog Healthy by Walking
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 your 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.
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.
However, if you own a Pug, Shih Tzu, or Bulldog then 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.
How Much Weight Can I Lose by Walking My Dog?
The Missouri participants lost an average of 14 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 to remember 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.
Are There Alternatives ro 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 can't really handle the running.
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.
Will Walking Help Keep My Dog Healthy 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 or 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!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
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© 2012 Dr Mark