Welcoming Spring: Helping Your Pet Shed Their Winter Weight
Help your pet welcome spring with a healthy mix of diet and exercise.
Now that we have officially entered the spring season (at least according the calendar), it is time to start packing up all of our cold weather gear from winter and start preparing ourselves for the days of sunshine that are soon to come.
For some of us, this may mean getting a jump start on spring cleaning or pulling out your shorts and tank tops from their winter hibernation. For others, spring often means hitting the gym and shedding off those extra winter pounds before bathing suit weather appears. However, we are not the only ones who pack on a few extra pounds during the delicious and plentiful activities of winter.
Just as humans tend to become a little more inactive during the cold weather months and add a few more calories into their diets, the same often goes for our pets. And who can blame them? With all of the delicious Thanksgiving table scraps being passed around and the mountains of snow that are packing them inside for days at a time, it’s easy for a pet to gain a little weight in just a few months.
However, what many people do not realize is that this extra little weight gain can actually be dangerous for our pets. Not only does extra weight put stress on our pets joints, which can in turn speed up on the onset of arthritis, but it can also make it very difficult for them to get around. This starts a vicious cycle of less motivation to go outside and be active, which can circle around again to more weight gain.
So, what can you do to ensure that your pet sheds their winter weight and is happy and healthy heading into the spring season? Here are a few tips for helping your family pet lose the flab of winter:
Get Outside And Exercise
Most pets do not get the proper amount of exercise each week required to keep them healthy and happy. Just as humans, your pets should get at least one hour of good exercise a day. This could be walking around your neighborhood, throwing the ball outside, taking a brisk hike or anything else that helps your pet work off excess calories. Regular exercise can also help to improve your dog’s metabolism, weight and muscle tone. Plus, many people do not realize that dogs are linear animals, and therefore, it is inherent for them to walk straight lines. They typically do not “exercise themselves because they are in a yard” as many people assume.
Monitor Their Feeding Schedule
When it comes time to feed your pets, it should not be a free for all where your pet eats until they are full. Instead, your pets should receive a measured amount of food that is recommended to you by your veterinarian. This will help to ensure that your pet is getting the exact calorie requirement for weight loss.
Cut Down On Snacks
One of the largest contributors of pet weight gain during the winter is treats and table scraps. You may not think that you are dishing out too many snacks, but a small treat here and there can add up. However, just like humans, pets needs balanced meals in order to stay healthy and strong. Therefore, break up your habit of too many treats by finding other ways to spoil your pets, such as grooming, toys or play. One other trick you can try is if you are treating them and/or training them with treats on a specific day, just cut back a little on the food that morning. You can also use a portion of their food for treats/training.
Do you have any other tips for helping your pet lose their winter weight? What kind of restrictions do you put on your pet throughout the winter to help ensure they do not put on any excess pounds? Let us know your suggestions and tips in the comments below!
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