Posted in cats, dogs, guinea pig, pet health, pets, rabbits

Follow the weight loss road

There seem to be few outlets for recreation in the winter that don’t require bundling up in layers of insulated clothing. It can weigh you down before you even take one step.

Anyone who makes it through the winter without gaining a few pounds has my admiration. Holiday meals and Valentine treats entice us to indulge. Extra calories add up for all of us as extra weight. Unfortunately, restricting calories can add to the problem. The metabolic rate we’re used to can kick into the “save” mode, once our usual intake of food has been reduced.

So no one should start a diet program without checking in with the family physician first. Once given the green light by the doctor, discussing our dietary options and adding exercise to our weekly routine are factors that are likely to have positive results.

Pets can have the same problem with weight gain. Since they don’t have trouble getting into last year’s swimsuit to remind them that they’ve had a few too many snacks, they may gain weight so slowly that we don’t notice right away.

Allowed to self-feed or to graze from a full food dish during the day, dogs and cats and other pets can begin eating without feeling satisfaction.

Nothing to do? Eat something.

Feeling depressed? Eat something.

Not sure what to eat? Eat several somethings, trying to find a taste to combat boredom.

Sound familiar? At least humans can be aware of their weight problems, and act to change their condition.

Our pets can only eat what we put in front of them. (Or what they may sneak from a neighboring pet’s bowl!)

The danger of obesity in pets is similar to ours. Especially since pets live longer lives today, they can also suffer diseases that we are subject to, including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Check with your pet’s veterinarian about weight concerns. Don’t be tempted to put your pet on a diet on your own. In some cases, dietary changes in pets can trigger serious health problems. The vet can help you structure a plan to decrease your pet’s caloric intake and increase exercise safely. Combined, they can help your pet achieve weight loss safely.

Having a buddy to share in an exercise routine may work to your advantage: you and your four-legged friend may both become slimmer and healthier. Longer lives, together? That’s as good a reason as any to get started on the road to a healthier you. And Toto too.

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Owned by three cats over age 13