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Unleashing a way to lose weight

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April 14, 2006

Albany -- With this warm, sunny weather you may spend more time outside getting a little exercise. For many of you, your workout partner is a furry friend.

Veterinarians say dogs make good exercise buddies because they crave your attention.

Maria Burley is outside at least three times a week walking dogs. Improving her pet's health, and her own.

"Gives you a little partner to work out with," said dog walker Maria Burley.

Fitness consultants say whether at the gym or outside a partner always helps you stick to a workout routine.

"You're just enjoying it more if you have somebody with you," said fitness consultant Kaley Shanks.

Being a dog walker has given Burley a quiet companion to exercise with. It has also improved the health of her four-legged friends.

While taking pets out for walk has its health benefits, veterinarians warn that animals have limits too when it comes to exercising.

"You can do some significant damage to a pet who overdoes an early exercise program just like a person can. Their feet get sore, their joints get sore," said veterinarian Fred Freeland.

Albany Pet Partners Veterinarian Fred Freeland says walking your dog prevents problems for your pets, such as obesity.

For Maria Burley a walk in the park with her dogs is a regular exercise routine.

"It actually I shed off a few pounds when I started walking dogs. It makes me drink a lot of water which is good for me," said Burley.

A healthy time for a pet-owner, and good for your pets as well.

The American Humane Society advises people who walk or run outside with their dogs to check the temperature of the pavement this time of year. Hot sidewalks can hurt your pup's paws. And always make sure you watch for signals from your dog such as heavy panting or slowing down. That means your pooch may need a break.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=PetFitness