6 questions to help you and your pet get into better shape

6 questions to help you and your pet get into better shape

You’ve both gained a few pounds over the holidays? Or maybe the weight dates further back. Try a happy approach to fitness by asking yourself these questions.

January 10, 2023

It's January and suddenly your clothes feel tight. You're not alone. Millions of Canadians and their companion animals are packing some additional padding. As veterinarians have noticed, when a person is overweight their pet tends to be also.

Here are 6 questions to help frame fitness in a more personal context. The goal? To have fun. And, ultimately, get into better shape.

1. How can I make exercise enjoyable?

Many people feel that physical fitness is a form of punishment. But it needn't be, if you can find an activity that's fun for you and your pet.


  • Discover new dog parks
  • Find a new toy for your cat that you will both enjoy

You don't like it? Move on. Don't stick with something you don't enjoy.

2. What am I enthusiastic about?

Some exercise routines are grounded in military-style discipline. Alas, sooner or later, discipline tends to collapse. Enthusiasm? It's the gift that keeps on giving.


3. What's the right pace for us?

Being realistic about pacing may help you and your pet stay the course. Consult your doctor and veterinarian about intensity before starting a new régime.


  • Slow and steady? Gentle walking with your dog or 10-minutes of daily play with your cat
  • Upbeat and faster? Consider skijoring or canicross

4. How can I make exercise part of our daily routine?

Many people like routine as much as dogs do. One way to prolong physical fitness is finding a way to make added activity a part of your routine.


  • Fix a specific time of the day' however short' and reserve it for exercise with your dog or cat
  • Replace a few minutes of unsatisfying TV or online activity with your fun pet exercise

5. How can I reward myself and my pet?

Positive reinforcement is great for animals … and people. Try replacing calorie-laden treats with hugs and strokes. It will do wonders for your level of ocytocin.


  • Reward your animal with extra petting, grooming and love
  • Be kind and gentle to yourself and take stock of the progress you're making

6. Who can we turn to for help?

Share your goals. Talk to your healthcare professional (doctor, nutritionist, veterinarian, pharmacist, osteopath, etc.) and your trusted friends, colleagues and family members.


  • Tell people you trust that you and your pet are aiming to get into better shape
  • Ask your healthcare professional for help and guidance
  • Turn to technologies: The internet is bursting with useful apps and options

It's personal

There are as many approaches to getting into shape as there are people and pets in the world. Find what resonates for you, be kind to yourself, talk to people, set reasonable expectations and have fun!

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