Fitness for Dogs: How to Achieve an Ideal Weight

dog jumping over a fallen tree with a toy in its mouth

If dogs weigh too much, they become sluggish – a vicious circle, although you can break it with varied exercises.

The path to our four-legged friends’ hearts lies through their stomachs. Nevertheless, good intentions frequently result in obesity. With your assistance and a gentle exercise programme, your dog can shed weight, regain fitness, and move freely. We will outline exercises that enhance canine fitness and benefit you as well.

Achieving an ideal weight through suitable exercise routines

There are numerous compelling reasons to combat your dog’s excess weight. Notably, because you desire the best for your faithful companion and wish to ensure its long-term fitness and well-being. Fortunately, weight loss for dogs is more manageable than many owners may believe.

Once you have acknowledged that your dog is overweight and identified the underlying causes with the assistance of your veterinarian, the foundation for successful weight loss is already established. Together, you can develop a suitable strategy for your dog’s weight reduction.

Now, it is crucial to modify both your dog’s diet and its activity level. Just as selecting the appropriate food is essential, providing ample opportunities for play, exercise, and venting energy is vital for healthy weight loss.

Therefore, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian about the key aspects to focus on in terms of canine workouts, such as safeguarding your dog’s joints.

5 sport exercises with dogs

After addressing all health-related factors, it is time to put theory into action. The following exercises not only enhance fitness for dogs but also provide benefits for their owners.

1. Going for walks

Simple yet effective

An overweight dog tends to be more sluggish. The additional weight makes even simple exercises challenging, and activities like jumping can potentially harm their joints rather than improving their health.

Therefore, regular walks provide a simple and gentle option to get overweight dogs moving. Adding variety by changing the route or joining other dogs as companions can make the walks more enjoyable.

By incorporating a few short bursts of activity or increasing the pace during certain intervals, walking can become a pleasant fitness training session for beginners. Your dog will hardly notice that it is actively participating in a dog sport. For example, you can integrate commands like “sit” and “all-fours” alternately to help burn calories and gradually strengthen your dog’s muscles.

2. Movement exercises

Staying active at home and on the go

Once your dog becomes slightly more fit, you can gradually increase the challenge with various movement exercises. During walks, encourage your dog to balance on a fallen tree trunk, leap over small ditches, or provide entertainment with a dog toy.

Using a specific toy exclusively for dog walks will help maintain its novelty, and your dog will eagerly anticipate its daily outing.

You can also keep your dog active at home by hiding its favourite stuffed toy indoors or in the garden, allowing it to search for it. Fitness for dogs can be achieved anywhere.

3. Fitness with dogs

Achieving the goal together

Engaging in physical activities together isn’t just more enjoyable for us humans. Dogs tend to be more active when they have a fellow four-legged friend to keep them company, or when their owners actively support their weight loss journey.

Have you considered dog yoga? Or outdoor fitness exercises that incorporate your dog in a gentle manner? Not only will this assist your dog in losing weight, but it will also give your own fitness a significant boost while strengthening the bond with your faithful companion.

Involve your dog by synchronizing your exercise movements with commands: for example, your dog can sit when you perform a squat by bending your knees. As you stand up, your dog can stand on all fours.

dog on a yoga mat © tatomm /
Fitness is even more fun for your dog if you can both train together.

4. Dog swimming

Leveraging the power of physics

Certain dog breeds are naturally comfortable in water. If your dog belongs to this group, you can make the most of their inclination.

Heavier dogs can benefit greatly from the principles of physics when it comes to swimming. The water’s buoyancy makes their body significantly lighter compared to being on land, making swimming a particularly enjoyable activity for them. Introducing swimming toys can add an extra level of challenge to their water training sessions.

5. Jogging and cycling with dogs

For the pros

If you are an active individual who engages in plenty of sports and your dog is accustomed to increased exercise, you can bring them along for jogging or cycling sessions. This can help them burn a significant number of calories. However, it is important to note that this type of dog sport is only suitable for healthy dogs capable of keeping up with the pace. Introduce them to these sports gradually to avoid any strain or injuries.

Keep in mind that not all dog breeds are well-suited for high-speed activities, especially those with short legs or a compact physique.

Dogs that are slightly overweight but otherwise athletically built can excel in these activities. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on whether advanced dog sports such as jogging or agility are suitable for your dog’s weight loss journey.

Tip: If your dog is not yet in optimal shape or has joint issues, degility training may be a suitable option. The focus here is on correctly executing exercises rather than completing an obstacle course as quickly as possible.

Tips for improving dog fitness

When it comes to helping your dog lose weight, it’s important to prioritize fun and safety. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure an enjoyable training experience for both you and your four-legged friend:

  • Start slowly: Begin training with gentle exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time.
  • Focus on obedience: For outdoor activities, it’s crucial that your dog can listen to you and follow important commands.
  • Warm-up and breaks: Prior to training, warm up your dog with brisk walks, and provide regular breaks. Make sure your dog has access to water during and after exercises.
  • Consider the weather: Adapt activities to the weather conditions, and ensure your dog can cool off in hot weather.
  • Choose suitable exercises: There are numerous sport exercises available for dogs, so find activities that align with your dog’s fitness level and physique.

The most important advice for dog fitness

Have fun! Approaching training with a positive mindset will make it more enjoyable for both you and your dog. Your enthusiasm will be contagious, and your dog will have a great time participating in sports.

With the right exercises, intuition, and patience, you will soon start to see results. As exercise becomes a part of your routine, the enjoyment of dog sports will naturally increase for both you and your dog.

The content in this article is created for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice. If your pet is feeling unwell, consult your veterinarian for a professional diagnosis and treatment.

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