Help Your Pet Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
While their human companions fret about extra pounds that appear during the holiday season, dogs and cats often experience the same problem. Between having less time to play outside in the colder weather, and finding more tempting party food left unguarded, your pet could be on the road to obesity before the New Year rolls around!
Why it Matters
The problem with dinner guests slipping your dog or cat food during dinner — or Fido sneaking into the kitchen for some unattended potato chips — is that those tidbits add up more quickly on a pet than a human, especially cats and smaller dogs.
Overweight pets are at risk for a shortened lifespan. Many of the same food-related culprits that strike humans can also impact dogs and cats, such as diabetes, cancer and heart problems. And, again as with people, a vicious cycle often occurs in which those extra pounds make a pet less willing to do the things that can address the problem, such as moving around more.
What You Can Do Right Away
If your dog or cat tends to put on weight during the holidays, now is the time to start planning how to avoid packing on the pounds.
- Remember that little things add up over the course of a day. If you do put some extra holiday scraps in the food bowl after dinner, limit the other treats you might normally give your pet. This way they’ll have the nutrition they count on from their regular pet food, while not getting too many extras in one day.
- Check with your vet about the quality of your pet’s current food brand. If weight is a problem for your pet already, a brand that has too many fillers and starches might need replacing.
- If your dog or cat uses an “on demand” feeding system, consider switching over to more regularly-scheduled meals. This will help you better control portions than the system of leaving the food out all day.
- Measure out pet food to make sure you’re not overdoing it. “Eyeballing” portions too often results in giving your furry friend larger portions than recommended. And that’s the last thing your pet needs if the holiday treats are piling up as well.
- Force yourself and your pet outdoors. Fresh air and exercise will not only be great for you but will encourage your dog (or cat, in some cases) to play more and walk further.
Need More Tips?
If you have concerns about your dog or cat’s current weight or want to learn about preventative diet plans, we’re here to help. We have the diagnostic tools and treatment options that will help address obesity-related problems, as well as pet nutrition counseling services. Contact us to learn how to keep your furry companion as healthy as possible.