Week 9 Lesson 2
Introducing Doggy Jogging!
Your dog is now 8 weeks into their activity program. Are you keen to increase your pace a little? If your dog is coping well with their activity level and has healthy joints, you may consider introducing a little jogging.
This exercise is not suitable for all dogs or owners and is best suited for our Activity Level 3 participants.
Please do not jog if you have an elderly dog, brachycephalic (snort nosed) or giant breed dog. Jogging is not advisable for dogs in the upper obese range (Body Condition Score 8 and 9).
For the purposes of our program we will limit jogging to a maximum of 1-5 minutes. This will be more than enough to elevate both your heart rates.
Remember to be guided by your dog! If your dog starts to lag behind, slow down and rest immediately.
7 Steps to Introduce your Dog to Jogging.
- Place your dog on a leash and select a soft even surface.
- Find an area that is free of distractions- we don’t want to be tripped or pulled off our feet when the neighborhood cat is spotted!
- Jog with your dog beside or slightly behind you, on a short leash. Do not let your dog run ahead of you. As well as providing a trip hazard, it is difficult to control your dog if they are on an extended leash.
- Start with 30 second jog intervals. Keep the pace to a slow jog (slightly faster than your fast walk pace). Follow up the 30 second interval with a 60 second walk. Repeat twice. Continue for at least three days.
- If your dog is coping well, you may increase the jog interval up to 60 seconds. Maintain this for another 3 days. i.e. 60 second slow jog followed by 60 second walk.
- Gradually over the course of several weeks, decrease the recovery time between jogs intervals, so that eventually your dog can continually jog for several minutes at a time.
- Be guided by your dog’s response and remain focused on your dog whilst jogging. Dogs will often over-exert themselves to keep up with their owners. Do not allow this to happen.
TIP: Always exercise your dog in the cool. Unlike humans, dogs cannot sweat and so regulate their temperature through panting. Panting is impeded whilst jogging which increases the risk of over-heating, especially if unfit or overweight or exercising in humid conditions.
NB. If you have a well-trained dog and a safe location, off-leash jogging is a great option, allowing your dog to set their own pace.
Let’s Revisit your Program Goals!
Have you started to achieve some of your program goals?
Revisit the goals you set in Prep Step 7 to see where you are at. It is important to keep these goals in mind to help keep your WAGSTA Wellness program on track.
Once you start ticking off your goals, please share your wins with fellow WAGSTAs in the coaching group. Your success will help buoy others in their dog diet journey.
Feel free to add new goals to your list, so you keep striving towards your dog’s best life!
Hypothyroidism (caused by under active thyroid glands) is the most common hormonal disease in dogs and as is the case in humans, is often associated with weight gain.
An estimated 61% of dogs diagnosed with hypothyroidism are overweight with owners often reporting their dog’s weight gain as ‘unexplained’.
Insufficient levels of the hormone thyroxine cause a reduced metabolic rate resulting in a positive calorie balance. Hypothyroid dogs will commonly gain weight without eating extra calories.
In addition to weight gain other symptoms of hypothyroidism include mental dullness, lethargy, dry scurfy skin, excessive hair shedding with retarded hair regrowth, non-itchy hair loss (typically over the back, hind legs and tail), cold intolerance and heat seeking behavior, reproductive disruption and thickened skin over the face.
Such symptoms should prompt a visit to your vet where a quick blood test can detect any thyroid disease.
Fortunately, hypothyroidism is a disease that can be effectively managed with thyroid supplementation. Detected early and with lifelong thyroxine supplementation, treated dogs should go on to live long, happy lives.
Hypothyroidism is most common in the in 4-10 year old bracket, in medium to large sized breeds such as Golden Retrieves, Great Danes, Dachshunds, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels Dobermans and Irish Setters Poodles and Old English Sheepdogs.
Although hypothyroidism has a strong correlation with weight gain, it is important to realize that the majority of overweight and obese dogs (>95%) do not have thyroid disease. Most dogs are overweight simply due to excess calorie consumption.
Woofs and wags,
Your WAGSTA team.