Obesity is a national problem for the human population. Not surprisingly it is also a major health concern for our pets. As pet owners it is our responsibility to take steps that improve quality of life for our furry family members.
The good news is that most of these steps can be fun and build the bond the bond between you and your pet. The easiest place to start is right at your own front door. Walking is the best workout to start an exercise program for your dog. This activity is also beneficial to the human part of the partnership! 5 minute walks 2 or 3 times daily can be all that is needed to begin the path to a healthier pet. Caution is used to prevent muscle strains or overheating. It is a good idea to consult a veterinarian prior to beginning any exercise schedule to make sure no adjustments to your exercise plan are needed because of pet health issues.
Equipment is simple. A sturdy leash, a collar with id tags, and possibly a body harness are a good start. If your dog does not walk politely on a leash consider a basic training class to learn how to teach your dog to walk without pulling. https://www.facebook.com/#!/kanawhaotc
You can add fun activities to the walk as you and your pet gain stamina. At intervals you can ask your dog to sit or lie down, thus earning a treat reward. Dogs begin to anticipate the walk and look forward to spending this quality time with the owner.
If you plan on walking for an extended time period, or are walking in the heat of the day, consider carrying a collapsible water bowl and some fresh water for your dog. http://www.ruffwear.com/dog_bowls
Dogs need mental and physical activity to stay healthy. http://www.petobesityprevention.com/
Physical activity combined with training can also help to reduce unwanted behaviors in the home. This is just as important as feeding a proper diet, giving shelter, and preventative health care in providing a good home for your four legged family member.
In the Kanawha and Putnam County area most public parks allow leashed dogs. Most have excellent choices to walk on level ground and more challenging wooded trails.