Eat healthier, become more active, spend more time outdoors doing what you love. These are all common New Year’s resolutions for humans – but what about your four-legged companion? Pets should also start these same resolutions in January and continue throughout the year to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Benefits of Keeping Your Pet at a Healthy Weight
Just like us, excess weight can reduce your pup’s overall health and wellness. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that overweight pets lose more than two years of life expectancy. That’s a rather large number when you think about how short their lives are compared to ours.
Keeping your dog (or any pet) at a healthy weight lowers their risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory disease, and certain types of cancers. An ideal weight for their age and breed also helps reduce the risk of joint-related issues such as arthritis, soft tissue injuries, and bone injuries.
How Can You Help Your Dog Lose Weight?
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each pup will require different dietary adjustments and exercise requirements. But don’t stress! Westfield Veterinary Group is here to help every step (and ball throw!) of the way.
Step 1: Determine your pet’s ideal weight. Your WVG veterinarian will assess your dog’s weight and overall health, consider their age and any medical conditions that may have caused weight gain, and then offer recommendations tailored just for your canine. Our focus is always on your pet’s quality of life.
Step 2: Feed a healthy and nutritious diet. Eliminate all table scraps from Fido’s diet, even though we know those puppy dog eyes will be watching you every meal time. High-calorie treats need to be replaced with nutritious, healthy treats at certain times of the day. The same can be said about food. Smaller, frequent feedings and special bowls that slow down food intake benefit many pets that need to lose a few extra pounds.
Please know that the recommended feeding amount on the pet food label may not be appropriate for your pet. The WVG team will help you determine the amount and frequency of feedings.
Step 3: Get up and get moving. Dogs love to be outdoors so increasing their daily exercise requirements should be quite easy. We encourage many pet parents to play ball, throw a frisbee, or take longer walks with their furry friend. If possible, allow them to swim. The water allows for a wonderful exercise session while reducing stress on their joints.
With the right mindset and goals in place, you will be able to support your dog in maintaining a healthy weight and happy lifestyle in 2020 and beyond.
To start your pet’s weight loss journey, contact either our Westfield or Union location for an appointment. Our compassionate veterinarians will assess your pet’s body weight, rule out any underlying health concerns, and help you develop a plan to best help your pet.