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You may be familiar with the term house hamster.  And you may not.  A house hamster is a dog that never leaves the apartment. Dogs are meant to go outside and just like their animal counterparts in the wild and sharing their space- they too benefit from staying physically fit for a long and healthy quality of life. 

You want your dog to know you’re doing a great job at providing your creature the creature comforts of life but it’s not always easy to help him stay on the right path. Some pups have health issues that contribute to weight gain, while some owners have busy schedules that don’t allow for taking their pups for as many long walks as they’d like.

Just like with humans, a dog who is overweight can have serious health problems or mood disorders from a lack of exercise. It’s important to make sure your pet has quality of life that will sustain him for years to come, so making sure he sticks to a healthy diet and gets a good workout every day is imperative.

Here are a few tips on how to make sure he gets healthy and fit.

Don’t Make Excuses

Your busy schedule may keep you from taking your dog on long walks or playing in the park. Sometimes there’s just no way around work or other responsibilities. There is a way around not exercising your pup, however. You can simply hire a dog walker. For a small fee, you can hire someone to make sure your dog gets his daily walk—along with some attention and perhaps a treat—so that you can take care of your duties without feeling guilty. Click here for information on hiring a dog walker near you.

Thinking Outside the Box:

As the number of work from home days continues to trend upwards, you might benefit from asking your employer if you can work from home one day a week.  This can allow you to have a day to spend with your and take a longer walk in the AM, afternoon or PM since you are saving time on your commute.

Do a Little Research

It never hurts to do a bit of research when it comes to helping your dog stay fit. Depending on what breed he is, he may have special dietary or exercise needs that will keep him as healthy as possible. Look online to find out everything you can about his breed, as well as how much he should be eating according to his age and weight. 

Stay Accurate

When it comes to your pet, you don’t want to simply guess at how much food (or exercise) he needs every day. Staying accurate with your portions will help you give your dog the best diet, so talk to his vet to get an idea of how many meals he should eat per day and what the serving size should be. This is especially important for your dog since extra weight can put pressure on their hips and joints and cause pain. Some technologies akin to the fit bit but for pets can help you keep track of that with an app.

Careful with the Treats

If your dog loves treats, he’s not alone; many pups live for snacks and table scraps. All those treats can add up, however, so it’s best to stick to foods that are specially made for dogs, and to break a treat into small pieces rather than giving him two or three at a time. For older dogs, you can even find delicious treats that help with joint or gum health. You can even use their kibble as a treat!

Work Out with Your Pet

In most cases, you don’t have to do hour-long workouts with your dog to keep him feeling good; 20 to 30 minutes per day is perfect for most dogs. You can achieve that by going for a brisk walk through the neighborhood after dinner or taking him to the park for a run with some other dogs. Getting outside and being active with him will encourage him to stay active, whereas simply setting him loose in the backyard might not be motivating enough.

Keeping your dog healthy and fit could add years to his life, which means he’ll be around to bring you comfort, laughs, and happiness longer. Talk to your vet about the best ways to help him stay healthy and set goals for both of you in order to stay motivated.

This piece was contributed by Lucy Tate of Dog Go Now. 

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