New Horizons Veterinary Behavior Solutions

300 Somonauk St.
Park Forest, IL 60466



How can you get your cat or dog to exercise more so they can lose weight?  Check out these websites and products for some great suggestions 

Pet Exercise Tips from Click here for great ideas and video demonstrations on how to exercise  with your Dog and Cat!

2009 Top Pet Fitness and Weight Loss Products  Pet Weight loss expert, Dr. Ernie Ward has selected some of the best products to help your pet lose weight and get into great shape!

2010 Top Pet Fitness and Weight Loss Products More great product so encourage exercise and weight loss.

Food Toys & Chew Toys are fun tools to encourage to pets work for their meals while satisfying their prey drive.  Hide loaded food toys about the house and encourage your pet to hunt them out!

Treadmills for Dogs really do exist.  Click this link to read a review of several products.

The Pet Zen Dog Treadmill

Have you heard about cat exercise wheels?  Check out the links below.  Talk about environmental enrichment for cats!  Kitty's love these.  It lets a cat be a cat and do the exercise it was meant to do chasing down its meals.  Dont forget to reward your kitty with a treat when he uses his wheel!  Be sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure that your kitty in in good health befor introducing him to a cat exercise wheel.  Certain conditions such as heart disease or feline asthma may worsen with strenuous exercise.


            PetZones Cat Exercise Wheel

PetZones Cat Exercise Wheel  Cat exercise wheels are lots of fun for cats and a great way to provide exercise.  This is a link to one company that makes cat exercise wheels.  

The Cat Wheel Company is another manufacturer of cat exercise wheels. 

youtube Video on the Cat Exercise Wheel It can be really difficult to get cats to exercise but an exercise wheel is so fun, cats love to us it. It doesnt take much to get them started!  Check out this video from a shelter in Irvine California of kittens learning to play on the wheel!

Frolicat Toys for cats are fun and stimulate exercise as well as natural prey behavior for your cat.  The Bolt Laser Light Toy is a favorite! Always remember, when playing with any laser toy, throw out a treat occasionally and shine the light on the treat, allowing your cat to "catch" its prey!  If never allowed to "catch" what is in the light, a kitty can become frustrated

Walking your dog for weight loss
  By Dr. Ernie Ward

When you combine exercise with proper diet and lifestyle, you extend the years you'll have to hug and love and snuggle with your four legged friend. Walk with your dog every day, and you'll enhance the bond you share, and know you're doing both yourself and your pet a world of good. Of course, make sure your veterinarian examines your dog before undertaking a weight loss exercise program with your portly friend.

Get the right equipment

Forget the leash and collar. Collars can compress the trachea (windpipe) when pulled, causing difficulty breathing or even injury. Especially dangerous are choke collars or constricting collars of any design. A head halter or walking harness is your safest choice. Look for wide, soft, padded straps and breathable materials. Use a short leash so that you'll be keeping your canine companion close to keep up a steady pace.  Check out the Deer Run Webpage on the Easy Walk Harness or See the Premier Products website for information on Gentle Leader Head Halters and the Easy Walk No Pull Harness  

If it's warm (above 80 to 85 F for most dogs) or if you'll be walking longer than 30 minutes, carry water. There are many styles of portable water bottles available for dogs on the move.

Set the right pace

Few dogs will naturally walk at a pace that generates the elevated heart rates needed for sustained aerobic activity. Walking for weight loss is very different than walking for pleasure. Make your objective to move briskly on the "out" leg of your walk, and then let your dog smell the roses on the "back" leg. If you start slowly, allowing your pet to sniff everything he sees, you may have a challenge getting him to speed up when you're ready. Draw your dog close on his leash, generally within two to four feet on the side away from the street, and set off at a pace you feel comfortable sustaining. It should feel brisk and you should break a light sweat. The key is to keep it up! Don't look down when your pooch inevitably wants to stop and smell something or mark a hydrant. Continue looking straight ahead, tighten the leash (don't jerk), and give a command such as "No stop", "Come", or "Here".  It's important for your dog to understand that you have places to go and that this is different from your usual lollygagging affair. Head halters are a great way to train dogs to heel during a brisk walk and pay attention. If your pet sits or refuses to walk, you may have to return home, crate him or put him in a quiet space without your attention, and try again another time. I have yet to encounter a dog that didn't take readily to brisk walking.

Set time goals

For most overweight or obese dogs with normal heart and lung function, normal blood pressure, and no other preexisting medical conditions, I recommend starting with 30-minute walks five times a week. Here's a sample schedule:

Week One    30 minutes total 10 minutes brisk followed by 20 minutes casual pace

Week Two    30 minutes total 15 minutes brisk followed by 15 minutes casual pace

Week Three  30 minutes total 20 minutes brisk followed by 10 minutes casual pace

Week Four    35-40 minutes total 30 minutes brisk followed by 5-10 minutes casual pace

Week Five+  35-60 minutes total Two 20- to 30-minute walks per day: 15-25 minutes brisk followed by 5 minutes casual pace

If you can, walk 30 minutes a day, seven days a week.

Check weight monthly

Bring your dog into Deer Run Animal Hospital monthly for a weight check until he or she reaches the right weight. Also, ask our clinic staff  to inspect the dog's pads for any injuries or problems and trim the nails so they are short and healthy. After your pooch hits the desired weight, reweigh every two to three months long term.  This way you will catch small amounts of weight gain early, and be able to adjust exercise and diet to maintain at a healthy weight.