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Unleashed: Keeping your Fido fit and healthy

Some dogs (probably yours) just love food. Put anything re­motely resembling food within their reach, and they hoover it down as fast as they can, then stare at you blankly as if to ask “Why is my bowl empty? Please fix this, I’m starving!”

By Russell D Russell

Monday 9 December 2019, 10:00AM

Whilst food drive is a super useful tool that we can use to help teach our dogs a variety of skills, left unchecked their insatiable appetite can lead to serious health issues.

Owners often think its “cute” that their dogs are fat and therefore “hug­gable”. Or if they have a large breed dog, it is somehow accepted that they should be as big as possible. However, weight-related illnesses in dogs are comparable to those in humans, such as type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, high blood pressure, cancer and respiratory illnesses, the latter of which is certainly enhanced when you have a brachyce­phalic (squashed nose) dog, such as a pug or bulldog.

Over time, as the weight of your dog increases and moves into obese levels, their quality of life and engagement factors are going to decrease. You’re less motivated to take them out as they don’t seem to enjoy it or tire too quickly, and it spirals down quite quickly from there. So what sort of things can we, as responsible owners, do in order to keep our dogs in tip-top shape?

1. Maintaining a proper diet

Firstly, understand that pet obesity is not a dog problem, it’s a human problem. Regulating your dog’s food is hugely important, and that’s all on you. Don’t fall for the puppy dog eyes and add extra scoops of kibble. And as for kibble, rather than using just any old brand, look for quality, dense foods that provide nutrition for your dog. Brands like Royal Canine are generally promot­ed heavily amongst vets here, in part because they are subsidised. It’s sold for profit, and whilst it’s okay, know that there are much better foods available for your dog.

2. Plodding

Walking your dog is the simplest way to get exercise (for you both) and for you to bond with your dog. More is al­ways better than less, and to change things up, you should try and alter your route when possible. Use different areas which provide different chal­lenges and stimulation for your dog. A walk around the estate is one thing, but the beach or a trail hike is also fun, engaging and really good exer­cise. Good exercise and well-regulated food intake will help shed those excess puppy pounds. Oh, and by the way, the same is true for you too.

3. Swimming

QSI International School Phuket

There’s a reason that swimmers are known to be some of the fittest athletes, plus it’s a non-impact sport, so you’re not going to do damage to your pooch’s joints that running can do. If your dog is already keen to swim, then try and get him to do some power laps in the pool or at the beach by throwing a ball or encouraging him to chase you. Get him power swimming in bursts. Let us know if your dog isn’t much of a swim­mer and we’ll see if we can help get him used to it!

4. Working on agility

Agility is a dog sport suitable for well-trained, energetic and athletic dogs, whereby they race from point A to B and clear a variety of obstacles on the way. It’s terrific fun. Your dog doesn’t have to be a speed demon to enjoy jumping over small obstacles and weaving through poles, but the more they do it, the faster and fitter they will get.

5. Attending doggie boot camp

Here at Canine Point, we provide a K9 Boot Camp for your dogs to help get them on the right path to being fit. The boot camp features a variety of work­outs, activities and obedience drills, all of which are designed to be highly intensive and active. You’ll also learn about how to manage these workouts and get your dog to play, engage and interact.

If you would like some more information on canine training or fitness pro­grammes, then please contact us on 091 654 1960, email info@k9pointacademy.com, or check our website www.k9poin­tacademy.com. CPA is accredited with the Certification Council for Profession­al Dog Trainers (CCPDT-KA), and is the only certified American Kennel Club (AKC) Evaluator in Thailand.

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