Saturday, October 12, 2013

Your Pup-Sonal Trainer

When I first got Holly, she had been a stray on the streets less than a month before. She was underweight, and I fed her accordingly. Of course, I made the classic mommy mistake of continuing to overfeed her even after she reached a healthy weight. A visit to the vet revealed we had gone too far in the opposite direction and Holly was actually overweight--yikes! Since I know all of the health issues that can happen with extra weight in pups, I definitely wanted to correct the issue.

We made a few changes in her diet, eliminating wet food and puppy food and instead feeding adult dry food. I also cut her dry food intake in half. But just like with people, I knew diet alone wasn't going to take the weight off.

I had an exercise routine that I had established pre-Holly that mainly consisted of at home DVDs, but now I felt guilty for making her walk a quick jaunt around the block when I could be combining her workout with my own. So I chucked the DVDs and set my alarm 30 minutes earlier, turning that quick jaunt into a 30-40 minute power walk.

There is a definite difference between a leisurely stroll with your pup and one that actually burns calories. I make sure I am equipped to break into a jog at any time--sometimes we choose to walk blocks and jog avenues, or jog whenever crossing streets, or just to jog when Holly is a little TOO occupied with one thing to sniff. Holly loves running (especially directly in front of me when I am running!), and a quick jog is usually rewarded with her leaping along beside me, all smiles and happy barks.

I wear a pedometer so we can track our distance and measure our success. On weekdays we walk about 1-2 miles, and on the weekends we expand our journey to take advantage of Central Park and walk 3-4. Weekends also find us frequently trekking around the city running errands or just exploring, so typically we end up walking 6-8 miles every Saturday and Sunday (that seems to be the magic number to FINALLY make Holly sleepy).  If there's a chance, I'll come home and I'll do a 10 minute strength session while dutifully throwing Holly's ball for her--she especially loves days with crunches because she can run up and lick my face or bite my nose!

Since we started our exercise routine, Holly has lost 3lbs and is back to a healthy weight. Everyone from our neighbors to her trainer is commenting on how terrific she looks! This Winter a dear friend of mine (and super crazy marathon runner) is participating in a 10k in the Park, and I know Holly and I could power walk our way through without a problem. As long as there's not too many interesting things to sniff, that is! :)

Before: Holly was a little fuller and we worried it would cause health issues.

After: Hard work and cutting down on high calorie food slimmed Holly to a healthy weight!
I'm glad I was able to build a workout routine that benefits both my health and my pup's. Not only is walking with Holly a chance to unplug and enjoy the outdoors every day, but it has given me the chance to check out new restaurants, stores, and landmarks I may never have visited otherwise.

A typical Saturday. Clockwise from top left: Exploring Holly Golightly's Townhouse from the movie, disobeying the rules, and rolling in something fun in the park!
Have you built your dog into your exercise routine? What are some tricks you use to keep your pup at a healthy weight?

Until Next Time, Darlings!

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