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Dog Treadmills and Parkour: The Latest for Curbing Pet Obesity?

2012-08-20 13:03
pet health, dog health, pet obesity, parkour, dog treadmills

Just as we humans are getting rounder in the middle, so are our pets. Reducing weight for our furry friends is not any different from what our doctors tell us - adopt a healthy diet and get more exercise (eat less, move more). But what if you just aren’t able to take your doggie for a walk in the park? Here are two unique suggestions for getting your pet more activity.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 54% of US pets are overweight. That equals out to about 88.4 million dogs and cats that are too heavy for optimal health. Animal health conditions related to weight include osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems, kidney disease, and shortened life expectancy (sound familiar?)

Owners who live in areas where it is unsafe to get their pet outdoors for a walk can now purchase a dog treadmill. The American Pet Products Association says that in 2010, about 3 million dogs were using one, such as the DogPACER, a folding, portable treadmill with a top speed of 7.5 mph. It can hold pets up to 150 pounds and costs $499.

Could you just get double use out of your own treadmill? Not a good idea, says the team at DogPACER. Human treadmills are built for upright control and have a relatively short belt. The longer belt on the DogPACER better accommodates our four-legged friends. The motor is also quieter so as not to frighten your pet.

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What if walking your pet is just too low-key for you? How about parkour! Parkour is a physical discipline which focuses on efficient movement (vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and leaping) around obstacles. Unlike your standard dog agility training, parkour is a non-competitive activity.

The Discovery Channel features “Tret the Super Dog,” an American Staffordshire Terrier from the Ukraine, in a “remix” video scaling walls and leaping from high points. Definitely more extreme than your standard Dogwalk!

Keeping your dog active takes dedication on your part, but for both of you, it can result in good health and long life, so try something that will keep you motivated long-term.