Close Up of Dog's Eyes

It’s no secret that keeping your dog at a healthy weight and in shape is essential to the long-term health of your pup. Overweight dogs are prone to health problems, join deterioration, and a shortened lifespan. In the U.S., more than 50% of dogs over 1 year old are overweight. Here are some ways for your pup to “wag their way” into better shape:

Food does not equal affection

Resist your pup’s pleading eyes for a bite of your burger and instead give them a carrot or a toy. If your dog is still acting hungry after dinner, add more protein or healthy food items to keep them full.

Run, play, run

Exercise is KEY to a healthy dog’s life. Dogs naturally like to roam and explore. So, take your furry friend on a walk around the block or to the nearest park. Extend these walks to hikes and runs at least three times a week. Make sure, though, to build your dog’s exercise program slowly to avoid injury. Start with a one-mile walk instead of a ten!

Smart food choices

Nutrition is important for a healthy lifestyle. Check the fat and calorie content of your pup’s food and ensure they are getting healthy fats and oils and productive calories. If your dog is less active, switch them to a lower fat or lower calorie meal. Be sure to consult your vet on any weight loss programs you want to engage in to ensure your dog is on the right path to a healthy life!

Be patient

Just like in humans, results will not come overnight. Changing your dog’s lifestyle will take time and patience. Give them, and yourself, a pat on the back as the pounds come off and be sure to stick with the healthy program when they do.

Don’t have time to exercise your pup regularly? Dogtopia works hard to ensure your furry friend is getting the love, exercise, and socialization they need to live a healthy life. Learn more about our doggie daycare.

-By Colleen Demling, Dogtopia’s Canine Behaviorist. With over 30,000 hours and 15 years of HANDS ON dog training experience, Colleen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviorist. She is a frequent contributor to local and national media including Yahoo, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day and many more. Colleen was a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by Women in the Pet Industry Network. She was also named a 2015 Woman of Influence and one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Pet Age Magazine. Learn more: