For many of us who live in colder climates, seasonal weight gain is a fact of life. Unfortunately, our pets can also be affected. Less time outdoors and more time snuggled up on the couch can quickly lead to excess pounds, which are often difficult to shed.
Losing weight is rarely easy, but maintaining a healthy weight can add years to your pet’s life. The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate your pet’s lifestyle, starting with these pet weight loss tips from the team at Mountainview Veterinary Hospital!
Pet Weight Loss
Even a couple extra pounds can spell big trouble for your pet, putting them at risk for serious medical conditions, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Type II diabetes
- Heart disease
- Increased frequency of joint injuries
- Certain types of cancer
It can be tempting to simply feed your pet less if you want them to lose weight, but it isn’t always that simple. Sometimes, weight gain is caused by an underlying medical condition. If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, please bring them in to see us for a nutritional consultation. Your veterinarian can help you develop a pet weight loss plan that works for both of you.
Baby, it’s Cold Outside!
Mother Nature may have turned down her thermostat, but this doesn’t change your dog’s need for outdoor exercise, so grab your coat and get moving! You can still take Fido for a walk around the neighborhood, or shake things up a bit with a new dog park or hiking trail.
Staying safe is important when it comes to winter exercise. Make sure your dog’s paws are protected from the elements with booties or a pet-safe paw wax, such as Musher’s Secret. Always wipe off your dog’s paws afterwards to prevent the ingestion of road salt and chemical deicers. In addition, senior pets, very young pets, and those with thin fur may benefit from the extra warmth of a weatherproof coat or sweater.
For those days when the weather simply isn’t conducive to outdoor activity (if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet!), consider indoor activities that challenge the brain and the body, such as:
- Use a ball, squeaky toy, laser pointer, or feather toy to encourage indoor games of fetch or chase.
- If you have the space, set up a small obstacle course for your pet. Get the kids involved, and have fun with it!
- Work on obedience training. Both dogs and cats love learning new tricks and can be trained using treats or clicker training methods.
- Try an indoor agility class for your active, social dog (you’ll both get a workout!).
Winter pet weight loss is a great goal for 2019. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like more tips!