2011! Our year to reach and maintain a better level of fitness. We talked with the Doctors at Critical Care and Veterinary Specialists of Sarasota for some clues about extending this to our family pets. Here are some tips from the experts!
Resolving to reach, and maintain, a healthy weight is a good idea not just for the family, but for the family pets. Like us, those extra pounds can result in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, back problems and joint deterioration. Here is what you need to know to help your tubby puppy slim down. Our pets are overweight for the same reasons we are: too much food; too little exercise. o Never abruptly change or severely cut back a dog’s food. This can cause serious metabolic imbalances. Always visit your vet before starting a weight loss program. He or she can let you know if your dog is healthy enough for a weight loss program, recommend the right amount of food and advise how to reduce the amount of food safely and gradually.
- Weight loss should be slow and steady – a good goal is about 1 percent of body weight per week. Use the same scale to weigh your pet each time. Even small differences in scales can be a significant difference for smaller pets.
- Healthy weight is best judged by body shape. Look at your dog from above. You should see a slightly indented “waist” between hips and ribs, and the ribs should be felt easily.
- Don’t eliminate treats because treat time is great bonding time. Reduce the number of treats and give them in smaller pieces. Try substituting frozen green beans or baby carrots instead of higher calorie treats like cookies or dog biscuits.
- Regular exercise is a must. Dogs should be walked twice a day for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes. Work up to that if a dog is really out of shape.
- If your dog begs for food, be more persistent than he is! After all – your resolve can lead to a longer healthier life for your little love.