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Getting Fit with Your Pet

Exercising with Your Pet for New Year’s Resolutions


If you are like most people, your New Years resolutions were set with good intentions. Typically, within three weeks into the New Year, many resolutions start to fall by the wayside. Year after year, losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. The good news is it’s easy to get back on the wagon if this was your resolution. Just adopt a dog or a cat!

Researchers in Great Britain recently surveyed 5,000 people and found that those with dogs exercised up to six hours more per week than those who worked out at a gym or on their own. The study found that the average dog owner walks his or her dog for around 30 minutes twice a day. Compare that to the average gym-goer, who only works out two hours per week. The difference can be attributed to the fact that 86 percent of dog owners say they enjoy the time with their pets, versus 16 percent of respondents who rate going to the gym as a favorable activity.

Walking your dog twice a day is a great way to stay in shape. However there are lots of other ways to stay in shape with your pet. Boot camps are the new exercise craze and it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a dog boot camp to stay in shape with your pet. Thank Dog Boot Camp did just that. This program combines weight training, cardiovascular training, and dog training all in a one-hour session. Prior to the first session of boot camp, trainers will conduct a health evaluation and behavior consultation on your dog as well as a one on one obedience lesson. Classes are currently being offered in Los Angeles County, Orange County and in northern California. For more information, visit .

If you don’t have a dog boot camp in your area, try taking your dog on a hike. Here is a great website to find hiking trails where dogs are allowed,

Dogs love to venture outside of their normal routine, but when you’re on the trail, keep your dog’s comfort and safety in mind with these tips:

Choose a hike that matches both you and your dog’s fitness level. Keep hikes short and simple at first. Work up gradually, as both of you become more accustomed to the activity.

Avoid hiking on hot and humid days. Dogs overheat faster than humans do and are more prone to heat stress.

Let your dog rest when he needs to. If he starts panting excessively and is seeking out shade, this might mean that he needs a break.

Make sure you bring plenty of water for yourself and your dog to drink. It’s a good idea to carry a portable water bowl for your dog to prevent him from drinking from ponds and streams.

Keep in mind that not everyone likes dogs, so keep your dog under control as you hike.

Always hike with your dog on your right side, so that you are between your dog and other people

Always pick up after your dog, even when on a hiking trail.

Don’t allow your dog to chase wildlife. If he doesn’t respond immediately to your call if he strays, then you might want to consider keeping him on a leash.

If you want your dog to carry his own supplies (treats, poop bags, etc) just remember that experts recommend that a dog should only carry twenty-five percent of his body weight; anything above that is too heavy.

After you get home, check your dog for burrs, foxtails, ticks or scrapes. Keep in mind that if your dog wandered into poison ivy, it may not affect him, but the oils can be transferred off his coat onto your skin. Make sure to wear gloves if you’re going to bathe him.

If you happen to be a cat owner, it’s no excuse to be a couch potato. While you may not be able to take your cat on a hike or to the beach, you can still exercise with your cat, since cats love to chase fishing pole toys. Rather than sit on the couch and swing the toy around, run around your house with it. The cat catcher by go-cat is one of the best cat toys around, and it only costs $7! amazon.com. The same company also makes a feather toy for those cats who prefer to chase birds instead of mice amazon.com.

Whether you own a dog or a cat, there’s no better time to get in shape with your pet then right now. If you don’t own a pet, now is a great time to adopt one! To find a homeless animal shelter in your area, visit petfinder.com

Here are some area animal shelters in Santa Barbara:

ASAP: asapcats.org

B.U.N.S: bunssb.org

C.A.R.E.4Paws: care4paws.org

DAWG: sbdawg.net

K9 PALS: k9pals.org

RESQCATS: resqcats.org

Santa Barbara Humane Society: sbhumanesociety.org

Adoptable Pet of the Week

Miss Buttons got her name because she is just that—“as cute as a button!” Approximately 7 months old, she is very energetic and would prefer to run and explore rather than to snuggle and sit on a lap. She is fun to watch as she bounces around her exercise pen. Come visit Miss Buttons today!

Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (B.U.N.S.) is a volunteer organization that cares for abandoned rabbits. B.U.N.S is located at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd. B.U.N.S. works to find bunnies permanent homes, and educates the public on caring for a companion rabbit. You can call the County Shelter at 805-681-5285 or call B.U.N.S. at 805-683-0521 and leave a message for someone to call you back. For more information, visit bunssb.org

Lisa Acho Remorenko is executive director of Animal Adoption Solutions, www.animaladoptionsolutions.com

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