It's January and many of us get that same old feeling. It's a season for new beginnings, new resolutions, and some measure of regret for all the indulgences of the holiday season. We might not have been the only over indulgers in the house. Our dogs and cats may have put on some extra pounds too. Between the extra relatives over and sneaking fido and fluffy lots of extra snacks and the lack of exercise due to holiday business or the fact that it's colder and maybe snowier outside, our dogs and cats can gain that extra weight too. If dogs and cats made resolutions half of them would be joining us in our pursuit of a healthier weight.
Here’s a few facts about canine and feline weight you might not know:
1. More than half of dogs and cats in the US are considered overweight. It’s right up there with dental disease in terms of how frequently it is diagnosed. Because it creeps up slowly over time, many pet parents don’t even realize it’s happening until an annual vet check. Suddenly, your 12-pound cat is now 15 pounds. Yikes!
2. Being overweight increases other health risks. Diabetes, joint disease, heart and lung disease, some forms of cancer and high blood pressure are all linked to excessive weight in dogs and cats. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same list we see in people. We all need to make an effort to go out and play, walk or run as a team!
3. Weight loss is a process. Some companion animals lose weight more easily than others just like people. Because of this it may take some experimentation to figure out the best course of action for your own dog or cat. One of the most common pitfalls is neglecting to measure food portions. When we owned a pet sitting business people had all sorts of measurement items for their pets. Some had small coffee cans, others had a scoop and others had measuring cups. Some just said they eat until they are full. Our suggestion is to make sure you are feeding a high quality premium dog food or cat food. Treats are also a big problem since many commercial dog treats and cat treats are full of sugar and junky ingredients that add nothing but extra pounds. Instead purchase healthy dog treats and cat treats. If your dog needs to lose weight, we recommend Life's Abundance weight loss dog food and as a treat the Wholesome Hearts low fat dog treats.
4. Helping your fur kid be healthier can make you healthier, too! The Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that people who live with dogs are 34% more likely to walk at least 150 minutes a week. And if your fur kid is a puppy, guess what? You walk faster than people walking without a dog. Sometimes not in a straight line, am I right?
5. Pet kids at a healthy weight live longer. Dogs and cats at a normal weight have an average life expectancy up to 2.5 years longer than those who are overweight. So commit today and add more and better years to not just your own life, but your companion animal’s as well!
The great thing about weight, compared to other medical conditions, is that it is reversible. Talk to your veterinarian about the course of action that’s right for you. They can help you figure out your companion animal’s caloric requirements and ensure weight loss is done gradually and safely.
Enjoy your day!
Lisa and Rich Jelinek