It's that time of year again!
With the Christmas indulgence over, many of us will be wanting to get into shape for the New Year!
Whilst for us it is our choice to cut down on calories and move more, our pets rely on us for everything – we control their food, home environment, exercise, care and attention. The major cause of obesity in pets is much the same as it is for us: more calories consumed than energy expended and the excess being stored by the body as fat. Overweight pets are susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and decreased mobility.
If your pet does need to get in shape, it is important to ascertain how much weight they need to lose and use a well-balanced diet with accurately weighed out proportions and the right amount of fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. You shouldn’t simply reduce the amount your pet is being fed as this can cause an imbalance and create nutritional problems. The ideal diet will reduce calories but increase protein and fibre to ensure gradual weight loss without your pet feeling hungry! Regular meals will help – giving smaller meals throughout the day can be both beneficial to your pet and give you the feeling of giving more.
All pets love treats (as we do!) but it is important to keep control over what you give and how much. Consider swapping high calorie treats for healthier ones that are high in fibre and low in fat. The food we eat is mostly unsuitable for our pet’s diet, so don’t be tempted to feed scraps from the table. We recommend reducing the amount of food you give during meal times if you do treat so that those calories don’t build up. Your pet would much rather spend 10 minutes playing a ball game or running after a mouse on a string with you.
Get those around you involved in your pet’s care and make sure they know the reasons they are on a diet plan – success is more likely if everyone is involved.
It may appear that our pets have it made; walks, food and sleep – but without something to do they can get bored. There is lots of choice of food puzzles and toys on the market to help enrich meal times and exercise their mind – we are able to show you a few in the practice and help with recommendations.
Our Nurse Weight Loss Clinics are here to help you and are designed to assess your pet, their diet and routine and provide you with a tailored plan supporting you every step of the way. It is very easy to become disheartened when not seeing the loss you’re expecting and as you see your pet every day you are unlikely to notice as much of a difference as we do when we see them back for check-ups. Remember you are doing this for your pet, to keep them happier and healthier – the satisfaction of seeing your pet run around like they haven’t in years is what it is all about!
To book in to one of our free weight loss clinics, please call your usual practice on 01235 814991 / 01491 651379.