As with ourselves, body weight can play an important role in the health of our body and influence how long we will live. A healthy weight is achieved through proper nutrition, eating the appropriate amount of calories, limiting extras and choosing healthier treats and participating in routine daily exercise. Here are a few tips on how to help your pets achieve an optimal healthy weight this year.
Dogs and cats seem to have an endless capacity to stuff themselves. Not surprising, since their ancestors had to gorge themselves whenever they encountered food. As a result, your pet’s meal plan must be regulated closely.
- Stick to a daily feeding guide based on your pet’s age, sex, activity level, and type of diet.
- Divide the daily allowance into at least two meals per day.
- In a multi-pet household feed your furry friends separately.
- Avoid feeding table scraps and snacks.
- Keep your pet in another room when preparing or eating your meals.
- If you are having a hard time resisting your pet’s charm, feed treats that are low in calories.
- There are many treats made specifically to aid in weight loss. They are still very tasty but are low in calories. Feel free to ask your veterinarian which treats he/she recommends.
- Dogs often enjoy many types of fruits and vegetables. These include apples, carrots, oranges, broccoli, potatoes and green beans.
- A Kong filled with ice made from low sodium chicken or beef broth can also be a great low calorie treat.
- Never give your pets table scraps. People food contains fat, salt and other ingredients that your pooch doesn’t need. Often times these types of foods can cause your pet to have indigestion and diarrhea.
Your furry friend’s diet is just half the battle. For any successful weight loss program, an exercise plan must be incorporated. Consult your veterinarian before starting any exercise program. Here are a few tips for boosting your pet’s playtime for optimal weight loss.
- Regular walk to the park or along the street.
- Resistance walks – walk your dog on different surfaces such as snow, sand, shallow water and fallen leaves.
- Enhanced walks – use obstacles such as benches, trees, ditches or logs for your pooch to jump over, crawl under or balance on.
- Fetch – Throw a ball or toy on a hillside or stairs to really boost the calorie burn. Playing ball burns 3 times the number of calories normally burned at rest.
- Swimming or hydrotherapy – This is ideal for dogs with arthritis or back problems. Swimming burns 6 times the number of calories normally burned at rest. There are some indoor pools available for use by dogs during the winter months.
- Interactive toys are becoming more available and a popular way for your dog to stay active and stimulated while you are away. Many will slowly distribute their own food to them while they satisfy their playful or hunting instincts.
- Toys – encourage your cat to get moving but throwing a toy for your cat to fetch. Many cats also enjoy catnip toys and will chase them around the house.
- Chasing toys burns 3 times the number of calories normally burned at rest.
- Laser Tag – Shine a laser or flashlight on the floor and walls and watch your cat chase the lightboxing – Let your cat play in a box or paper bag (always under supervision).
- Hunting – Put your cat’s food in different places in the house including tall furniture to bring out the hunter in your kitty.
- Interactive toys – There are many interactive toys made now that provide stimulation and activity for your cat even when you are not at home. Some dispense food and can be used to distribute part of your cat’s daily calorie intake and satisfy their innate hunting instincts.
For more details on the above information including what is the most appropriate food and treat for your pet, how to calculate your pet’s daily caloric requirements, how much exercise should your pet have and where to get interactive pet toys, please call or email us. We’d be happy to tailor a fitness and nutrition plan to meet your pet’s specific needs!