Over the past year, I have told you some of the many ways that my mom cares for me and makes sure that I stay healthy. A few of the ways she does this are keeping my nails short, brushing my teeth, and good coat care through bathing and brushing,
If you’ve missed any of the posts where I’ve shared about my grooming or healthcare you can take a look at the following posts . . . Bath time! – Brushing my teeth! – My Grooming routines! – My annual visit with my veterinarian!
Another important part of my care is ensuring that I am physically fit and at a good weight. As a service dog, I need to be able to easily perform my job. And help my mom with the tasks she needs me to do for her. For this, I need to be agile and have good endurance.
Being a Labrador Retriever I like to eat. Let me emphasize that. . . I really like to eat! And love getting treats! This could be a problem if my mom wasn’t careful with how much food I consume in a day.
I love my food and treats so much that sometimes I even drool a little bit!
Do you know why it is important that I stay at my ideal weight? There are a few ways that extra weight could affect me.
Carrying extra pounds could put undue stress on my joints and cause damage. Or lead to an increase in unwanted health problems. And it could even make me sluggish which most likely would impact my ability to help my mom.
My mom feeds me a good quality dog food and measures how much I get at each meal. She will adjust the amount depending on how much exercise I’ve gotten during that day and how many extra training treats I’ve received.
The training treats my mom gives me are small and low calorie. She uses a variety of treats and mixes them together. This way it is always a surprise as to which flavor or type of treat I get. Some are yummier than others. But I do have to admit . . . I really love all of them!
A mixture of my yummy training treats!
Do you know how my mom checks to see if my weight is okay? One way is weighing me when we go to visit my veterinarian. They have a special scale that I can just step on and it shows my weight on a digital display.
But we don’t go to see my vet very often. So in between my visits, there are a couple of other ways that my mom can monitor how I’m doing. She does these things every day!
One way that she checks my weight is to look at my body from above and from the side. There should be a slight curve inward just behind my ribs. The other way she checks is by rubbing her fingers along my ribs to make sure she can easily feel them.
Can you see the curves just behind my ribs? I’m at my perfect weight!
When we graduated as a team my mom was given an ideal weight range that I should maintain. I am pleased to tell you that I have always been within that range and have never gone over the upper limit!
For exercise, I get a couple of different types. One is just the regular walking I do when my mom and I are out and about. Some days we do a lot of walking! The other ways that I get to exercise are either playing ball with my mom or racing around the front yard with my little sister, Roo.
Walking with my mom!
Remember in my post Going places! I told you about all of the cool features my mom’s wheelchair has? And that feature where it tells her how far she has driven in a day? On extra busy days, we might go as much as two or three miles!
For the days when I don’t get enough exercise while we are out and about. And for the days when we stay home, my mom makes sure I go outside in our large fenced yard so I can run around and play.
What are your favorite physical activities? I love playing ball with my mom but she can’t throw it very far. So it is more of a game than real exercise. Although it is fun to play with my mom I’d have to say my favorite way to get my exercise is running and playing with Roo. Even though she can sometimes be a little bit pesky!
Roo is usually faster than me!
During the summer, especially on hot and humid days, I have to be careful when playing outside. Becoming overheated is a risk if I were to race around too much or for too long. This could cause heat stroke or other problems. So I either have very short playtimes or go out later in the evening when the temps are cooler.
And in similar ways, I have to also be careful in the winter. If it is too cold and snowy it might be uncomfortable for my body and I could get chilled. And if the snow is crusty and hard I could hurt my paws.
Having fun playing in the snow!
If the weather is too hot or too cold we have to find ways to play inside. We might do some physical play like with the ball or a toy. Or games like hide and seek. And sometimes my mom has me do some training games like going around a cone or jumping exercises.
So for my exercise needs my mom is sure to take the necessary precautions with keeping me safe. While balancing my needs to be physically active.
Proper nutrition, plenty of physical exercises, and the overall care my mom does with me daily all contribute to me staying physically fit.
As I age I am starting to slow down a little bit. And resting more than I used to. I take more naps in between helping my mom. And don’t need quite as much exercise as I did when I was younger. But I am still eager and ready to help her whenever she needs me!