Can A Dog Help Your Weight Loss?

black pug with gray knit scarf

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Maybe it was covid, maybe it’s just breeding but dogs are bleeding everywhere these days. Some days you can’t even get into a park because it’s so full of dogs – and there’s practically no good sticks to be had any more because the dogs have got them all. But dogs aren’t just good for jamming up parks and stealing sticks – research has shown that they can actually be a unique way to help you lose weight.

black pug with gray knit scarf

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

The simple message seems to be that not only do pets bring joy and companionship into our lives etc etc, but they can also provide motivation and accountability for our fitness goals. One study involving 60 dog owners that was published in Frontiers in Veterinary Medicine. Researchers found that there were mutual benefits of weight loss programs for dogs and their owners. The mean percentage of weight loss of the humans in the study was 5.3 pounds over the course of eight weeks.

But why would Rover help you fit into a smaller pullover? For starters, pets require daily exercise. Dogs, in particular, need to be taken out for walks or runs several times a day. This gives pet owners an excuse to get out of the house, move their bodies, and burn some calories. Studies have shown that people who own dogs tend to be more active than those who don’t, which can result in weight loss.

Cats, on the other hand, might not need walks, but they do require playtime. Playing with a cat can be a fun way to increase physical activity and burn calories. Try using interactive toys like laser pointers or feather wands to engage your feline friend and get your body moving.

Pets also make great workout partners. Whether you go for a run with your dog or do yoga with your cat, having a furry friend by your side can make exercise more enjoyable. Plus, pets don’t judge or get tired, so you can work out as long as you want without worrying about your pace or technique.

Owning a pet can also reduce stress, which is a major factor in overeating and weight gain. Spending time with a pet can help lower cortisol levels and improve overall mental health. This reduction in stress can also result in better sleep, which is another important factor in weight management.

Of course, owning a pet isn’t a magic solution for weight loss. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet, stay active, and make other lifestyle changes to support your weight loss goals. But, incorporating a pet into your fitness routine can add a fun and furry element to your weight loss journey. If you’re interested in getting your four-legged pal to help you be less of a two-moobed guy then here’s a simple routine to start you off…

  1. Warm-Up Walk: Start with a 10-15 minute leisurely walk with your dog to get both of you warmed up. Try and incorporate some hills to elevate your heart rate.
  2. Interval Jogging: Jog for 30 seconds, then walk for 30 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 10-15 minutes. This workout is perfect for dogs that have a lot of energy to burn.
  3. Fetch: Play a game of fetch with a ball or frisbee. Leave the ball-launcher at home and vary which arm you throw with. You can also squat each time you need to pick up the ball. This makes for a great full-body workout for both you and your dog.
  4. Agility Course: Create an obstacle course in your yard with items like cones, tunnels, and jumps. Guide your dog through the course, encouraging them to jump and weave. This helps to improve their coordination and increase their endurance.
  5. Cool-Down Walk: Finish the workout with a 10-15 minute cool-down walk. This will help both you and your dog gradually return to a relaxed state.

Remember to always check with your vet and doctor before starting a new workout routine with your dog to ensure that it is safe for them and you. Also, make sure to bring plenty of water for both you and your furry friend, but maybe leave the treats at home.


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