Dr. Theresa, her dog Seanchai, and Puppet Pal, George, discuss the importance of avoiding snacks to control weight for dogs and people.
diMy wonderful husband turned the big 50 in September 2011. On a recent visit to his doctor, he was diagnosed with high cholesterol, diabetes, and told to lose weight. They referred him to a dietician who asked if he knew what a low fat diet was. He was told that he needed to lose at least fifty pounds.
For a man like him, who has always been physically active and thin most of his life, this came as a shock! He knew that he had a little belly but had no idea how his health had escalated out of control by eating high calorie snacks and fast foods. Reaching middle age and fearing heart disease he knew that he had to make some drastic changes to get his health back in check. He tried different diet programs but found most of them to be too restrictive. A friend of ours suggested walking our dogs every day for at least 45 minutes.
Last year, one of our dogs had to have double ACL surgery done in both of her back legs. It was very expensive and her recovery has been a long, slow process. He decided to take her and our overweight redbone coonhound Weight Wagging.
It was one of the best decisions he’s ever made! Since he started Weight Wagging, he has lost thirty pounds and our redbone has lost five pounds! My husband no longer needs medicine for diabetes and his cholesterol levels have come down so much that he went off Simvastatin. Thanks to his Weight Wagging routine, our family is much healthier and happier!
Expanding waistlines are a real challenge for our society. Not only can our weight make us feel bad about ourselves, but it gives rise to a host of other health issues, like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
If the trend of rising obesity continues, it has been estimated that, by the start of the next decade, 75% of adult Americans will be overweight. The good news is that there is a remarkably easy way to lose weight; most of us know it, we just don’t get around to doing it. There’s no secret to it, it doesn’t cost money and it’s simple: eat healthy food and take some moderate exercise.
The trouble is that many of us can’t motivate ourselves to follow this simple advice. Modern life is fast paced and many of us don’t have the energy to prepare good food and get outside for some fresh air. Exhausted at the end of another busy day, we grab some over-processed fast food, and wile away our free time in front of a screen. Some of us have an unwitting partner in crime: our dog.
America’s dogs are suffering an obesity epidemic too. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that over 50% of the nation’s dogs are obese. Why? Well, we feed them over-processed cheap kibble, and then, because we are tired, we short-change them on their walks.
Many of us have large yards and it’s an easy assumption to make that the dog is managing to get enough exercise out there on its own. Or, feeling guilty, we compensate by over-feeding them. Worse, some dogs find themselves handed over to shelters when their boredom spills out into unwanted behavior. It can happen all too easily but thankfully there is a solution.
Weight Waggers are here to get you and your dog off the couch and out the front door together. Dog walking shouldn’t be yet another chore in your jam‐packed life. We are going to show you that it can be an enjoyable, energizing activity that sparks vitality and sets both you and your dog up for life-long health. It will become a habit, but one that you can actually enjoy!
You’re never going to find a more motivated and enthusiastic training buddy than your dog. Studies show that people who start walking for health are far more likely to stick to their new activity if they have a dog for a companion, than those who walk alone, or even those who choose a human buddy. All the two of you have to do is step out together for a walk every day, and soon you will both be reaping the health rewards. It really is that simple!
It’s easier to start a fitness regime with someone to back you up, someone who will support you and push you to go further. Someone who drags you out even if you don’t feel up to it. In that spirit, a dog is by far the best workout partner you can ever have. People who have dogs are more motivated to walk.
Dogs are better partners than other people, because they will always be excited to go out. They’ll push you to it. Unlike other people who might train with you, a dog can’t make excuses and skip a workout. And the dog won’t listen to your excuses either. It will want to go out regardless of how you’re feeling. That’s a level of commitment that’s hard to find anywhere else.
Going to the gym can feel like a chore, but when you’re going out with your pup, you find that it doesn’t feel like exercise anymore. Your motivation is right with you, tugging at the leash. It’s been shown that people who walk their dogs, walk more than people who walk for the exercise alone.
The end result of this activity is pretty extraordinary. Pet owners who regularly walk their dogs are 42% more likely to maintain a healthy weight than those who don’t. Three 20 minute walks will give you an hour’s worth of activity during the day.
Research has found that people who walk their dogs get more exercise than with a gym membership. On average, pet owners exercise their animals two times for about 24 minutes. Each week, they get five hours and 38 minutes of physical activity. People without dogs average only an hour and 20 minutes of exercise per week. That’s a significant difference.
Dogs have had human companions for generations. They’ve helped us survive the most difficult times. Now, they can help us by training us too. We can learn from them how to find the energy and the right motivation to get active. They will change our brains and reform our habits.
A doggy workout partner will keep you faithful in your routine, so you can both be happy and healthy!