Well, we made it through Christmas and now 2007 is just 2 days away! Are you going to make any New Year ™s resolutions this year? Maybe you could make some resolutions for your pets. People often decide to lose weight, and most frequently fall short on these plans. Why don ™t you resolve to help your pets to lose weight? We find that at least 75% of our patients are packing a few extra pounds. The key to weight loss is really quite simple – fewer calories in and more calories expended in exercise. Exercising most dogs is quite easy. You can go for walks (good for both of you!), throw a ball or let them run and swim at the beach. If arthritis or joint pain is a problem (which is VERY common), be sure to involve your veterinarian and some good pain control. Cats can be very difficult to exercise. Keeping food bowls and litter pans at opposite ends of the house can be helpful. Carrying a cat down the stairs to force it to walk upstairs actually works! Some cats will chase laser lights or little objects. Any increased activity helps. Limiting calories can also be quite simple. The first step is to be sure your pet eats meals (not free choice where food is out all the time.) You can switch from free choice to meal feeding gradually by leaving the food down for shorter periods of time each day. also be sure each pet eats from its own food bowl and finishes its meal completely. Once you figure out exactly how much your pet eats, cut back the volume by 25%. You also need to cut back on treats and snacks.
Many pets have physical ailments that make weight loss difficult. The doctors at Animal Care Clinic can help to determine if your pet might have musculoskeletal disease, hypothyroidism or another condition that needs to be treated, and we can help you with weight loss plans. Come see to help with your New Year ™s Pet Resolution!
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP