The holidays are over and we are all making our new years resolution to get healthier and loose the extra holiday weight. But what about your pets? The majority of the pets we see are overweight and unfortunately too many are creeping into the obese category! I know it’s hard when they look at you with those big eyes, but try hard! It is important to keep your pet at a healthy weight, as there are so many diseases caused or worsened by obesity. So what are some simple tricks to helping your pet loose weight and stay lean?
Measure our your pet’s food and feed them in meals. Often when you leave food out all of the time you don’t realize how much food your pet actually eats. So solve this problem but feeding them meals. Most people feed their pets twice a day, but for an adult dog or cat once a day is sufficient. But more meals per day will make them seem fuller. And we all know those cats that will drive you bananas screaming until you feed them. There are lots of inexpensive options for meal feeders that work on timers that can be used. With these you fill the tray with multiple portions and the machine allows the cat to eat that portion at preset times. These can be used for dogs too!
Use healthier treats! There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that are healthy for your pets. Avoid grapes, raisins, onions, anything with pits or large seeds, but generally you can give your pet pieces of fruits and vegetables. My favorite trick is adding frozen green beans to my dogs meals. They get half dog food and half green beans-they get to eat more, feel fuller, but not as many calories. I also feed a lot of carrots, apples, ice cubes, and Moon’s absolute favorite is bananas! Cats can be pickier about this, but some cats will eat fruits and veggies.
Make their meals last longer. I love Kongs and other similar food toys. I fill the Kong with my dog’s food, add peanut butter or canned food to the end to hold the food in, then freeze it. This makes the food they get last longer, keeps them busy, and slows them down for those that are vacuum cleaners. I normally can’t fit their whole meal, but can do kongs throughout the day or use it for a portion of their meal.
Exercise-so important. This time of the year is hard with the cold weather and darkness. But try to get your dog out for walks, play with your cat with toys, teach them fetch. If your pet is healthy enough, a great inside exercise is to have them fetch food or toys up and down your stairs. So you sit at top, toss a toy or food down, and they have to run down and then back up. Of course use caution but this can tire them out and burn up calories.
If you need more suggestions reach out to us. We are happy to help out with getting your pet to loose weight. And you are welcome to weigh your pet regularly at our animal hospital.
And send those pictures of your fit, svelte cats and dogs!
Boo Donoho, DVM
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