The WSJ reported recently that the newest obese Americans are PETS! A staggering 50% of pets are overweight and 1 in 5 are classified as obese! It seems that not content with making ourselves overweight and obese we are now inflicting the same statistics onto our pets.
The main culprit: owners who routinely overfeed pets, don’t exercise them enough and are unaware of the severe, and costly, health problems caused by excess weight. Common woes include diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer. Research also suggests that pets fed less over their lifetime can live significantly longer.
I can’t help but think that the solution is right in front of many pet owners, dog owners especially: GET OUT AND WALK YOUR DOG! It’s not a great undertaking and something that ALL dog owners should do regardless of whether your dog lives in an apartment or has a huge yard to roam around in. Dogs need walks, people with dogs need walks! Afterall it’s not just about exercise, it’s about dog socialization (towards other dogs, people, animals, children, vehicles etc). For a dog, a walk isn’t just a matter of one leg in front of the other, it’s a whole body sensory experience!
The best thing we found for our dogs to work harder, be more focused and burn more calories on walks are the doggy backpacks. Many trainers recommend them and if you walk distance, run, camp or hike with your dogs then these will be invaluable! Put those four legged friends to work with a backpack. Make them carry their own: water, food, treats, poop bags, etc. We bought our backpacks from Outward Hound via Amazon, I think ours are large, and our dogs are Dalmatians roughly 45-50lbs. You can see our dogs wearing the backpacks in the short video below…
Naturally you have to acclimatize the dogs to the backpacks. Our dogs don’t mind wearing coats, so the empty backpacks they were fine with immediately. We added the weight/supplies gradually, increasing the weight carried every 2-3 weeks.
It really is a great way to exercise your dogs, and they can carry your supplies for you also! Definitely recommend the backpacks to any dog owner!