A New Year is approaching, and many people are thinking about exercising more and losing those extra holiday pounds. While you may have added on an inch or two over the last several months, it’s quite possible your dog put on some weight, too. Cathy M. Rosenthal of MySanAntonio suggests we make the following New Year’s Resolution: Weight Loss for your Dog, and gives us some suggestions on how to get started.
New Year’s Resolution: Weight Loss for your Dog
At the beginning of the New Year, most people think about exercise and weight loss.
Even if you don’t want to think about it, weight loss companies heavily market their services and products at this time of year, knowing darn well you feel guilty over those extra holiday pounds. It can be hard to escape the communal pressure to get in shape.
It might be a good reason, though, to turn off the television and take a walk with your dog.
That’s because your pets may have put on a few extra pounds, too.
While some pets may have health problems that can lead to weight gain, the likely culprits are the same for them as for you and me — overeating and lack of exercise.
Sadly, modern dogs and cats lead more sedentary lifestyles, spending all day doing nothing while we are at work and then spending all evening on our laps or at our feet while we sit in front of computers, televisions or smart phones. With inactivity at an all time high, pet obesity is on the rise too.
So how can you tell if your pets are overweight?
Do they seem to have lost their figures? When you pet them, do you only feel thick fur and no ribs?
Do they appear thick across the back with practically no definition of a neck?
When you look at them from the side, does their abdomen protrude lower than the rib cage?
When you look at their back from above, does it look like they swallowed a soccer ball — whole?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, chances are your dog or cat needs to lose some weight.
Your first instinct may be to cut back on their food. But your pet still needs proper nutrition and can’t go without regular meals. Talk to your veterinarian first to make sure you’re dog or cat doesn’t have a health problem related to the weight.
If your pet gets a clean bill of health, start measuring your pet’s food rather than eyeballing the portion. This is one of the best ways to ensure you aren’t overfeeding.
Also watch their snacking. Whenever I holler “here,” my three dogs rush to me. They know they are going to get a treat every time. I do this to ensure they will come to me no matter what, but it also means I have to adjust their meals to accommodate these extra rewards for good behavior.
Next, introduce regular exercise into their day. A 10-minute walk for your dog is better than no walk at all. And five minutes a day playing with the laser beam of light may just be what kitty needs to get her metabolism going again.
Your vet may also recommend special weight-loss foods or switching to a senior diet if your pet is older, as these foods have fewer calories per portion.
You may think it’s silly to worry about your pet’s weight, but recent studies have shown that pets that maintain an optimal body weight live longer. And we’re not just talking about a few extra months, but up to two years of extended life just by keeping their weight at a proper level.
Obesity is the number one health issue facing pets today. Read the rest of the article here, and make your New Year’s resolution of weight loss for your dog! If you’ve had success helping your dog shed some excess weight, tell us how you did it in the comments below.