Is your pup in tip top shape? I have three sisters that keep me hopping, my sports, and a reputation of being a lady’s man with the girls to maintain. For me, looking sharp and feeling good is a top priority. April is Canine Fitness Month, the ideal time to remind everyone about the importance of keeping your dog fit. Being fit is more than exercise, it is a lifestyle.

How is your pup’s figure? Can you feel the rib cage – it should feel like rubbing over the back of your hand. How about a waistline – there should be a distinction between the chest and stomach when looking at him from the side. A dogs dog’s chest should be notably wider than its abdomen, with a tuck-up from the chest to the stomach. Over half the dogs in the USA are overweight and/or obese. Not only is it unhealthy, it will shorten a dog’s lifespan.

The Components Of Canine Fitness

Getting a dog into shape isn’t difficult and it may be something you can do together with your dog. Fitness doesn’t mean a dog needs to run a marathon. There are components to canine fitness.

  • diet
  • physical exercise
  • mental exercise

A Healthy Diet

Mom was never overweight, but with her health issues in 2021, she decided to completely revamp her diet. Most of her favorite foods are now gone, and with time, it doesn’t bother her. Whole foods are the key. Avoid processed foods. She also changed our diet the same way. We eat raw, and our treats are almost exclusively single ingredients. No dog junk food.

Our food is measured out at mealtimes, and we often get veggies or fruit with our meals to “spice” them up a bit. If any of us seem to be gaining weight, food and snacks are reduced. Obviously, for most people and pets this whole idea of food is a bit over the top and not something they want to do.

No matter what you feed your dog, DO NOT overfeed or overdo the snacks. Check their weight regularly. A pound or two may not seem like much but on most dogs it is a lot since we don’t weigh that much. Food is often equated with love, but if you really want to show your pup love, feed them properly and don’t let them be overweight.

Physical Exercise

You don’t need to start taking your dog to the gym. Getting out and walking together on a daily basis is a great way for you to bond and stay fit together. Start small and increase your mileage as fitness levels increase.

If you have more than one dog, or if your dog has friends, playing is great exercise. We all fly around the yard at our house which burns calories and builds muscle. For single dogs, try playing with a tennis ball, Frisbee, or other toy your dog loves.

Check out your local dog schools. Many offer classes for fitness, or different sports. You don’t have to compete in sports like agility to take classes. Just for fun is also welcome.

Mental Exercise

Mental exercise may not keep the body in tip top shape like physical exercise does, but it is necessary for overall fitness. You know we all do nose work. It is so much fun and it really tires us out. If you don’t want to get started with odor and all, try hiding food for your dog around your home or in the yard.

Rather than feeding your dog in his bowl, put his meal in a dog puzzle, slow feeder, or treat ball. Dogs love to hunt for their food, it’s an instinct. You can also hide kibble around the house for your dog to find.

My Conclusions On Getting In Tip Top Shape

Keeping your dog in tip top shape is the most important thing you can do for him. Make fitness a plan for you and your dog, something you can do together. At our house, Mom calls us her fitness buddies because we all stay fit together. Remember for humans and dogs alike, diets don’t work. One needs to adopt a healthy lifestyle that you can live with for the rest of your life.

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