Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM
Dr. Ernie Ward thinks pets can be great workout partners. For more from Dr. Ward, find him on Facebook or at www.drernieward.com.
We’ve become a nation of cooped-up couch potatoes. 42% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (check out the alarming trend here). Over half our country’s dogs and cats were classified as too heavy by their veterinarians in a 2012 nationwide survey. Only 1.2% of Americans met the seven cardiovascular health habits recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) in a 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association study. The guidelines included healthy eating routines and walking for 30-minutes five times a week.
While we were busy packing on the extra pounds, health officials witnessed a surge in weight-related diseases such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more in both people and pets. The good news is this slide into sickness can be reversed with some very simple lifestyle changes. Here are five reasons why you and your pet are perfect workout buddies.
Many of the behavior cases I see dramatically improve after I prescribe daily open-air excursions. Dogs that are constantly cooped-up indoors need environmental stimulation to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy – and so do you.
5. Man’s Best Motivation
There’s something deeply rewarding about spending time outdoors with your dog (or even leash-trained cats). Maybe it’s rooted in our genes; maybe it’s our long history together. Whatever the reason, the connection between sweaty people and panting pets is profound. Your dog longingly looks at you and wants one thing – you. Sure, you can redirect that desire by giving your pooch a goodie, but what they really, really want is your interaction, your play, your time. I think one of the greatest reasons pets are our best workout buddies is the fact that it’s our responsibility as pet parents. Stop taking the easy way out – treats and couch time – and start lacing up those walking shoes. You’ll feel better and your pet will love you for spending quality time with them. Plus, your pet deserves it.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Celeste Clements, DVM, DACVIM
Friday, January 22, 2021