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If you’ve recently taken a look at your dog and thought “my dog needs to lose weight,” it may be time to start taking action. Typically, veterinarians advise a combination of weight loss dog food like Purina®Pro Plan® SIMPLY FIT™and a healthy, consistent exercise program to help dogs lose weight. This article will be focusing on starting an exercise program.

Help Dogs Lose Weight: Get Them Active

Before beginning an exercise program to help your dog lose weight and get him in shape, you should take your dog to the veterinarian. Whether you want to jog or bicycle with your dog – or take up a sport like flying disc or agility – you should first be sure your dog is healthy and ready for exercise.
Stress from a new activity can bring on health problems that have been lying dormant or gone unnoticed. A veterinary checkup is important to assess a dog’s physical condition, test for parasites and make sure vaccinations are current.

Once your dog is cleared for exercise, you should start slowly and gradually based on your dog’s age, breed and physical condition. This gives the musculoskeletal system time to adapt. Beginning too aggressively with a full workout might help dogs lose weight initially, but ultimately does more harm than good.

Here are tips to get you started:

  • Take time to warm up and stretch muscles before vigorous exercise to help reduce muscle or ligament tearing.
  • Avoid exercise on hard surfaces, such as concrete and pavement.
  • During exercise, monitor for signs of fatigue or injuries.
  • Reduce the risk of heat stress by giving water before, during and after exercise.
  • Cool down after exercise to prevent muscles from getting tight.
  • After adopting a consistent schedule of activity, schedule weigh-ins every 2 weeks to monitor your dog’s weight loss progress.