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Monday, November 16, 2009

Motivational Mondays: My dog, Poki

Yup... you read that right. My doggie, Poki, is one of my motivations. She reminds me that we need to get out of the apartment and get moving! I love taking her for walks and hikes... just wish I could get her to come running with me. When we run together, she thinks we're playing so she goes CRAZY!! Pulling and biting the leash, running around me in circles, and she completely wears herself out on the first block! After that I pretty much have to drag her back home cause she's so tired. It's kinda cute, though.

Anyway, Poki isn't fat or overweight, but in the last year she's gained 4 lbs. And 4 lbs. on a dog that weighs 20 lbs. is A LOT! That's like me gaining 27 lbs. in a year!! And secondly, she's a one-bedroom-apartment-indoor dog, so unless Anthony or I take her out for walks, she doesn't get much exercise sleeping on the couch all day.

This is what she does if we're bothering her and she wants to sleep.
SERIOUSLY! What a brat!

Anyway, with the trend of obesity in our country it's only a smart idea to get in more exercise. And did I mention that's dog obesity? Just like us humans, dog obesity is the highest it's ever been! Poki has regular bi-weekly playdates with her best friend, a golden retriever named Bella, but I think I need to commit to a consistent walking schedule for Poki's health... and mine!

Poki and Bella begging for food.

So when I came across this article in my inbox this morning, I thought I should share:

Exercise and Lose Weight With Your Dog
While human obesity is at an all-time high, so too is dog obesity, with 25 to 40 percent of American dogs — an estimated 17 million — overweight. Exercising with your dog can be a great motivator for both of you to get — and stay — fit, happy, and healthy.

"It's as difficult a battle for dogs as it can be for us,'' Chicago veterinarian Dr. Tony Kremer said, adding that being heavy is not only unhealthy, but can also slow a dog and a person down. Following are a few suggestions for winning the battle.

Kibble in Bits

Just as it is for you, so it goes for your dog: The first step to losing weight involves a balanced and healthy diet. "It's amazing how many people think their dog isn't eating enough, and yet so many dogs are overweight,'' Kremer said.

The problem starts, he said, when pet owners — fueled by either a sense of duty or guilt in leaving pets home alone — want to do something nice for them. So they give them a tasty (translation: high-fat and high-salt) treat.

Sound familiar?

Instead, Kremer recommends finding another way to respond to a dog's perceived need for attention. "Usually, it just wants positive reinforcement,'' he said. "And you can do that in moderation — for your pet and yourself.''

For the dog, in particular, he recommends putting its normal kibble in a plastic container and rattling it, then giving it one piece, followed by praise.

A Daily Walk for Good Measure

If diet is the first half of the equation, it follows that exercise is the second. Nobody knows that more than Sandy. At 70 years old, she walks her two-year-old pug, Elvis, every morning for at least 30 minutes. After all, given her age and Elvis' breed, which is prone to obesity, it's good for both of them.

"There's an old saying,'' said Andrea Metcalf, a fitness expert in Chicago, "if your dog is getting fat, you're not getting enough exercise. Unfortunately, a lot of people think they don't have the time to get it in — for themselves or their animals.''

And yet, Metcalf said that a 10-minute walk in the morning and evening, combined with an appropriate diet, can be meaningful. As you and your pet get stronger, she recommends going for longer walks on the weekend, hiking, biking, and even running.

"Getting in shape is a win-win for everyone,'' she said. And not just in terms of losing weight, but making a commitment to do exercise together. "Pets can play a huge role in helping us stay with it.''

Motivate Each Other

Finally, dogs are great motivators, especially when you consider that they need to go outside to use the facilities, and are creatures of routine.

"If you play, walk, or exercise at a certain time each day, chances are your dog will be standing in front of you holding the leash when that time comes,'' said Kremer, "and you'd better be ready.'' In that sense, he and others agree: Your dog is the most reliable workout buddy you could ever ask for.

I realize it's horrible weather in most places right now, but if you have sunny, not so wet weather, get out there and bring your dog with you!


Croughwell said...

I try to run with my dog but when my husband isn't around it's hard pushing the stroller and holding unto the leash.

Anonymous said...

"Killing with kindness" is what I usually think when I see an overweight dog. Being a dog owner myself I meet many other dog owner's and the ones that have overweight dogs tend to be the ones constantly giving them snacks or people food. I do have to get out walking with our dog Scooby more we're in a house so he gets to run around the back yard a lot but would be better for him (and me) to get out on walks daily. - Thx for posting this Annie!

Mandie said...

I was giggling reading about you trying to run with Poki! EXCITED ya think?! hehee! Don't have a doggie, but I wish I did so I would have a running partner and motivator. I KNOW that would help me out some!!!

Mishy said...

Great post! it's a good reminder that our doggies need exercise too.

Christine said...

I love taking my terriers (Jack Russell and a Boston) on my runs. Their appreciation and enthusiasm is total motivation.

And Poki is a cutie!

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