January is well under way, and at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD there are a lot of New Year’s resolutions in progress! A popular resolution is to get in shape. Unfortunately, about 53% of dogs and 58% of cats in the United States are overweight too. Obesity in pets, just like in people, predisposes our furry friends to diabetes, joint pain, and other health problems that don’t go away easily.
Since they can’t do it all on their own, here are Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Tips for getting pets bikini-ready:
- Take a walk! The extra cardio will help you both get in shape. If visiting a dog park, be present when introducing new dogs and make sure all four-footed parties are fully vaccinated. Cats can go for walks, too! Pick up a cat harness from the pet store and introduce it slowly. Let Fluffy take the first steps outside all on her own. Click this link for more tips on walking cats.
Make time for play! Most cats love laser pointers, but every kitty has a favorite toy. Try a variety of low-cost options such as a crumpled piece of paper or a ping-pong ball. Try rope toys or a new Kong for a playful dog. For dogs who don’t play much, food puzzle toys can provide enrichment with a tasty reward.
- Add a salad! Try cutting back a little on the kibbles and mixing in some green beans or canned pumpkin. The fiber fills up pets for longer without adding calories. To get the exact amounts for a specific pet, please consult a veterinarian. Our KAH doctors are happy to help!
- Eat and run! Pets who constantly beg for food can make weight loss challenging. Measure out a portion for Fluffy or Rover, then throw each kibble to make the pet chase. Start with chasing a small amount and offering the rest in the pet’s normal bowl, and slowly work up to the whole meal. Another great idea is playing “hide and seek” by stashing small amounts of food here and there so the
pet has to “forage” for dinner.
- When all else fails, ask a veterinarian about Hill’s Metabolic Diet. This prescription food, when fed as directed, is guaranteed to shed those stubborn pounds.