Boot camp gets dogs in shape

You see it frequently on reality television shows: a couch potato is whipped into shape with tough love from a drill instructor and several run-throughs of a grueling obstacle course. However, this get-in-shape-quick tactic isn’t only for people; our four-legged friends can also benefit from a rigorous exercise program.

Just as it is with humans, a lack of exercise and poor diet can cause dogs to become obese or overweight. To help prevent the onset of a host of health-related problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, one might consider a dog fitness camp.

One such locale, the Winter Canine Fitness Camp in at the Middlehope Veterinary Hospital in Newburgh, NY, features a four-day program where dogs engage in a variety of games and activities, including an obstacle course and weigh-ins, all while stressing a proper dog diet, such as healthy treats and avoiding “people food.”

Proper diet and exercise should be a primary concern for all pet owners. However, for those with busy schedules and fleeting free time, boot camps may be an excellent way to reinforce these values, or, in some cases, introduce them. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), an estimated 55 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.