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People and Dogs
Power Dog Walks with Intervals
Take your dog for a walk on a leash. Throughout the walk, mix in some intervals of jogging, running or high stepping to help increase your heart rate and burn calories for both you and your dog.
Just as you did so many times with your friends as a kid, play tag with your dog at your local dog park, in your backyard or even inside your house. You'll both get a great cardio workout as your dog tries to chase you down.
A twist on an old favorite. Grab your dog's favorite toy and toss it at your local dog park or in your back yard… except this time, race your dog to retrieve it! For owners who don't have access to a dog park or a backyard, this can be done in the hallway of your home with a soft toy.
Fetch Tease for Abs
Another twist on classic fetch. Grab your dog's favorite toy and pretend to toss it as you reach the top of your sit-up. Try to get in as many reps as you can until your dog becomes wise that you still have his toy. This is perfect for your backyard, your local dog park or even inside your home.
Dog Squat Tease
Stand with your legs spread shoulder width in preparation to do a leg squat. As you descend, tap your dog with his favorite toy. As you rise, lift the toy above your head to encourage your dog to jump after it. This can be done in your home and outside as well.
Place fitness steps throughout your backyard. Place your dog on leash and swiftly walk through the course. At each step, designate an exercise for yourself such as toe touches, modified push-ups or leg squats to give yourself a solid workout. Your dog will constantly be in motion and will love spending time with you. If you don't have fitness steps, find common household items to use. For pet owners who don't have a backyard, this can be done at your local dog park.
Climbing stairs is the perfect way to build up your leg muscles. Place your dog on a leash and walk up and down your stairs. Be sure to mix it up and throw in some high steps and side steps to work various muscle groups.
Take your dog to the local park or just along the street.
Try to walk your dog on different surfaces like sand, shallow water, fallen leaves, snow or on a rough surface.
Use obstacles when you're out walking like benches, trees, ditches and logs for your dog to jump over, crawl under or balance on.
Throwing a ball or toy is great exercise for your dog, and you can make him work harder by doing it on a hillside or stairs. Don't throw sticks, though, as they can splinter and cause injury.
Hide and Seek
Hide a toy or some kibbles and let your dog find it.
Swimming or hydrotherapy
Ideal for dogs with arthritis or back problems. Ask your veterinarian about hydrotherapy.
Set up low hurdles (use a broom stick across two objects), tunnels (available from pet shops or use cardboard boxes) and a slalom course (objects set one yard apart) to exercise your dog.
People and Cats
Everyone knows that cats love to chase beams of light so why not get your heart rate up as well? Try jumping an invisible rope while holding flashlights in your hands aimed at the wall. You and your cat are sure to get a solid workout. Move the light beam up and down your wall or in circles and see your cat have a blast trying to "catch" it.
Ever do sit-ups with flashlights in your hands? When you get to the top of the sit-up, hold your position and crunch your abs for a few seconds while moving the flashlight beams on your wall.
Curious Cat Curls
Tie an elastic band to a toy around your dumbbells. As you curl, watch your cat go crazy to try to catch the toy as it ascends and descends.
Homemade or pet shop toys help to encourage your cat to get moving.
"Catch the Light"
Shine a flashlight on the floor and walls and let your cat play.
Let your cat play in a box or paper bag.
Put your cat's food in different places each day (including on top of tall furniture) and bring out the hunter in your cat!
People and and Pets Exercising Together Study (P-PET)
The People and Pets Exercising Together (P-PET) program is proven to be a safe, effective, and enjoyable way for people and pets to lose weight and maintain weight loss. By participating in a weight loss program with your pet, you can improve the quality of life for you and your pet through increased exercise, a strengthened human-animal bond, and a fun and motivating way to trim down together.
Check out Dr. Marty Becker, DVM and Dr. Robert Kushner, MD's book Fitness Unleashed! A Dog and Owner's Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together. Dr. Becker and Dr. Kushner have teamed up to create a progressive, fun, and effective weight loss program pet owners just like you.
Summary of the Study
Project P-PET (People and Pets Exercising Together) conducted by the Wellness Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Hill's Pet Nutrition.
Principal Investigator: Robert Kushner, MD, Professor of Medicine, The Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University, and Medical Director, Wellness Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Study Summary: Results of the first-ever, 12-month combined people and pet weight management study show that companion dogs can serve as social support for their owners for weight loss and weight maintenance.
The study consisted of three groups of overweight participants: a dog/owner group (36 people and their dogs), a dog-only group (53 dogs), and a people-only group (56 people). The purpose of the study was to compare the efficacy of weight loss programs for dog-only and people-only groups to that of a combined dog/owner weight loss program for both weight loss and weight maintenance.
During the study, dogs were fed a low-fat, nutritionally balanced pet food, Hill's® Prescription Diet® r/d® Canine, which is specially formulated to help dogs lose weight while keeping them feeling satisfied. In addition, pet owners with dogs in the study were provided with a suggested exercise plan (i.e., 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least three days per week) and a regular weigh-in schedule. When the ideal body weight was achieved, the dogs were changed to Prescription Diet® w/d® Canine pet food until the 12-month study was completed. People were provided with meal plans and pedometers and were instructed on strategies to control dietary calories and increase physical activities.
Over the course of the 12-month study, both people and dogs lost weight and kept it off: people lost an average of 11 pounds (approximately 5 percent of their initial body weight) and dogs lost an average of 12 pounds (approximately 15.6 percent of their initial body weight). The maximum weight loss for dogs was 35 pounds; for people, the maximum loss was 51 pounds.
The P-PET program is proven to be a safe, effective, and enjoyable way for people and pets to lose weight and maintain weight loss. By participating in a weight loss program with your pet, you can improve the quality of life for you and your pet through increased exercise, a strengthened human-animal bond, and a fun and motivating way to trim down together.