Overweight dogs motivate owners to get active

Overweight dogs motivate owners to get active

If your physician has failed to motivate you to exercise—your veterinarian may have more success. A recent study suggests that pet owners may get more physically active if they are warned that their dog needs exercise to maintain good health.

If you own a dog, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you walk it. In the past, studies have been mixed as to whether or not a playful pooch gets you off the couch. But, if you were told that your dog’s good health depended upon it, would that prompt you to put on your walking shoes?

A group of scientists, veterinarians and physicians at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland decided to test the theory with individuals whose dogs were overweight or obese. Thirty-two dog owners were recruited to participate with rotund dogs of all breeds. Half were told merely to watch their dog’s nutrition and monitor their health. The other half was given specific instructions about walking their dogs thirty minutes each day to reduce their weight.

Three months later, all of the owners and all of the dogs walked in a little leaner. Each of the 32 dog owners have stepped up their exercise regime in order to make sure their pets were walking off the weight. The benefits to both the owners and their furry friends were evident.

“Research has shown time and time again that 30 minutes of walking a day can reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your blood pressure and help you maintain a healthy weight,” says Dr. Alan Brown, director of the division of cardiology at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “If it takes a chunky dog to get you moving, so be it. Maybe we should all go to the shelter and adopt one.”

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One Comment

  1. I can attest to this! My pup was gaining a little extra weight last year, so I now make sure I’m watching what she eats and getting her out to be more active. It’s definitely helped me, too. We’re now both slimmed down and enjoying each other even more!

About the Author

Evonne Woloshyn
Evonne Woloshyn

Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!