Chances are, you probably know someone who has a fondness for old catchphrases. When they’re feeling good, they’re “as happy as a clam”. If they’re RSVPing to an event, they’re “in like Flynn”. And when they want to tell you how healthy they are, they’ll say they’re “as fit as a butcher’s dog“.
These days, people mostly use the phrase to refer to healthy humans. However, back in the day, the expression saw a very literal use. In this piece, we explore the meaning of “as fit as a butcher’s dog”. More importantly, we highlight how your furry friend can reach this standard of health.
‘Firstly, what does “as fit as a butcher’s dog” actually mean?’
In the days of yesteryear, the butcher’s pooch enjoyed a reputation as the strongest, hardiest dog in the neighbourhood. Their renown as super-fit hounds stemmed from their diet; thanks to their Owners’ careers, they were able to enjoy fresh cuts of raw beef and other meats every day. Because of their high-protein diets, the myth explained, these dogs grew muscles and immune systems that other pooches envied.
Now, we know that there’s more to canine health than a 100% raw beef diet. However, if you take the steps below, your pupper may live up to the legend.
“How can I make my furry friend as fit as a butcher’s dog?”
Exercise them a bit (but not too much) beyond their comfort zone
Every dog breed is unique, which means that every pupper’s road to fitness will be slightly different. For instance, if you have a British Bulldog, they may be content with a five-minute walk each day. While two-hour daily bush walks will likely cause them health problems, a short walk followed by a light game of “fetch” will challenge them in an achievable way. In contrast, a working breed Border Collie generally requires 8km of walking each day. If you’re looking to improve their fitness, an extra game of “fetch” alone may not cut it. Instead, you may want to consider enrolling them in agility training.
Regardless of your dog’s breed, tailor their exercise to their specific needs. Find their daily requirements, push them a little bit further, and watch their strength grow.
Keep them busy during the day
Daily exercise is well and good, but it only counts for so much. In fact, while physical movement is crucial for dogs, it’s no more important than mental enrichment. For this, you’ll want to keep your furbaby occupied during the day. After all, if they spend nine hours on their own while you’re at work, they’ll likely become anxious or lethargic – both of which are foes to fitness.
Should your work keep you away from your pooch each day, it’s worth enrolling them in Doggy Day Care. That way, they’ll have other humans (and dogs!) to engage their bodies and minds while you’re out. The result will be a sharper, more psychologically balanced pet, who will be one step closer to their fitness goals.
Serve them a high-protein diet
As we mentioned above, a high-protein diet isn’t the only route to furry fitness. However, it will give your furbaby the fuel they need to embark on that route. Like in human diets, proteins and amino acids provide our dogs with the foundations for muscle growth. This will not only augment your doggo’s strength – it will also protect their organs and maintain their mobility into later years. For a protein-rich diet, look to dog meals featuring meat and dog-friendly vegetables, or certain kinds of top-tier kibble.