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It’s not something that a lot of people talk about, but you’d be surprised at the weight loss benefits of hanging out with your furry friend! Our pets need a certain level of exercise to keep them healthy, so it makes sense that working out together can benefit both you and your pet. Exercising for weight loss can be a lonely experience. If you haven’t joined a gym or don’t have a workout buddy, you can be at risk for prematurely giving up on your exercise regimen and getting stuck back into your old habits.

 

Why It’s Important To Stay Accountable For Successful Weight Loss

Organizing a timeslot or making an appointment for exercise with someone else each day is a great idea. This helps to keep you accountable and on track to reaching your weight loss goals. If you wake up at 6am and  decide that you don’t feel like getting out of bed and going for a run, what’s stopping you from turning over and going back to sleep? Not much! But, if you know that your friend is going to turn up on your front door at any minute wondering why you’re taking so long, you’re much more likely to get up and commit to your routine.

When I was in high school, I had a friend who was my exercise buddy. Some days I wouldn’t want to get up and I’d sleep through my alarm. Because my friend was waiting for me, I always felt obliged to push myself that little bit harder to actually get up and go for a walk. The same went for her. There were days that she just would not feel like it and I’d walk all the way to her house to find that she was still in bed! But because we had this walking schedule with each other every single day, we pushed each other and kept each other on track.

We both lost weight, improved our health and grew into stronger people together and this was a highly rewarding experience. But when I ended up moving away from my hometown and with no local friends to keep me on track, I stopped exercising each day. I joined a gym in the area I moved to, but it was a fairly rural town and there wasn’t a lot of people for me to connect with and form a ‘workout buddy’ relationship. Little did I think about it at the time, but there was someone else who used to walk each day with my friend and I and who was now missing her daily walks. This was my Mini Foxie named Foxie.

 

Exercise Can Do Wonders For Not Only Your Health But Also Your Pet’s

At this time, Foxie was 11 years old and had just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. This was a hard time for us. Along with the diagnosis, she developed several other side effects from diabetes such as incontinance and cataracts (she is now approximately 90% blind and relies heavily on her hearing). One of the recommendations that Foxie’s vet gave me was to slowly increase Foxie’s level of exercise. We had been walking her frequently anyway, but not everyday because we thought that she was frail and wouldn’t have enough energy. After Foxie started recieving insulin every day, we noticed a huge improvement in her wellbeing and decieded to take the vet’s advice about increasing her exercise. Having this responsibility to look after Foxie and make sure she is getting enough exercise also helped to keep me on track to stay healthy and reach my own personal weight loss goals.

Foxie and I created a morning walking routine that was honestly the biggest catalyst for me to become interested in weight loss and health. If it wasn’t for her, I probably would have just stayed on the couch and my health probably would have deteriorated. Every morning, I let Foxie lead the way and I would usually limit her to around a 30 minute walk in summer, although I’ll let her walk around 45 minutes in winter if she has a lot of excess energy.

Foxie

The Results

I lost around 33lbs just from walking Foxie each day! I talk more about how this helped me ultimately lose 110lbs in my post How I Exercised To Lose 110lbs. Foxie lost the little bit of excess weight that she was carrying and this greatly improved her blood test results at the vet and also really improved her quality of life. Not only this, but it strengthened the bond between us and we have shared so many nice memories together, I’m very thankful for each day that I get to spend with her. 

 

And Then There Were Two: Breed Differences For Dog Walking

One thing that always bothered me was that I had to leave Foxie alone when I went to work. Naturally, this made me consider getting another dog to keep her company. Initially, I planned on getting a large dog like a husky or a labrador, because I was looking to get into dog training and it was important for me to get a breed that enjoyed frequent exercise.

BUT, as I walked into the breeder’s, all of these breeds took a back seat as I fell in love with one puppy in particular. As soon as I saw him I knew that from this moment on that he was my puppy. The absolute last breed that I had considered getting a puppy from was a Pug! But I took one look at him and that was that. From that day onwards, Muffin was a part of the family.

Muffin

But What If Your Pet Is Unable To Or Hates Exercise?

Now that I had Muffin, I knew that our exercise routine was going to need a shake up. As pugs have breathing issues, it’s important to make sure that they maintain a healthy weight and this was going to pose an issue, because Muffin absolutely HATES exercise. This frustrated Foxie because she is a very active dog and could walk for miles on end.

The best solution for me, and which I HIGHLY recommend if you have an injured, disabled, elderly or otherwise impaired animal, is to get them a stroller. I make sure that Muffin gets in a decent amount of exercise. Once he’s had enough, I plop him in the stroller and continue walking Foxie until she’s had enough. I can then do as much walking as I need to reach my weight loss goals. Both dogs get the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air without tiring themselves out too much. 

This is a popular dog stroller available on Amazon.com

 

You Can Lose And Maintain Weight With Dog Walking

I’ve lost large amounts of weight just from walking my dogs alone. Initially, at the start of my weight loss journey, I lost about 33lbs, and now that I’m in a healthy weight range, I enjoy walking them to keep my weight under control. This has done wonders for me. There as so many benefits to working with your dogs to lose weight. I have bonded so much with Foxie and Muffin from these walks, they are both much healthier and happier because of the exercise and they also bring a smile to so many other people’s faces when I take them out. It’s a win win for everybody!

Foxie and Muffin after a walk!

Dogs Aren’t The Only Pet That Can Help You Lose Weight!

Another point I’d like to make is about cats. My cat’s name was Shadow and she was my yoga buddy! If you think yoga is fun and theraputic anyway, you’ll love doing yoga with a cat! Whenever I would get into Downward Facing Dog Pose, Shadow would weave in between my legs, brushing up against me and purring. If I did Cat Pose, or Bridge Pose, she would even jump right on top of me and sit on my stomach or back and purr! It made my yoga sessions that much more special and I wish that I had taken more videos of me doing these poses with her.

Shadow

Why Not Give It A Shot?

Your pets really can help you to reach your weight loss goals. Even if you just need some encouragement to do a yoga session each day, or you need a little face to plead with you each morning to get out of bed and go for a walk! The opportunities really are endless for how much weight you can lose with your pets and it offers so much more than just weight loss. Fitness is always more fun together and when it improves everyone’s quality of life and brings everyone closer, why not give it a shot?

I’m sure your furry friend would appreciate the extra attention! Make sure that you always take more than enough water if you walk your dogs and beware of walking them on the pavement during summer, especially if they are a breed like a pug that can have quite sensitive skin. I take a silicone foldaway bowl with me on my walks, like this one here and it works great for me!

                               

Sharing Is Caring!

What are your thoughts on losing weight with your pets? Do you have dogs or cats that would like the extra bit of attention? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your take on this post and see photos of your pets! 

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