• Keep them healthy, keep them safe!

New Year’s Resolutions: Conquering Christmas Calories


As we welcome the new year, it is time to start thinking about how we can make 2018 an unforgettable year with the help of New Year’s resolutions. Whether yours may be doing more good deeds or seeing more of the world, it is essential that we consider the wellbeing of our furry companions too. Over the Christmas holiday, there is no doubt that they would have taken any opportunity to indulge in festive treats. It is a time of year where we are able to relax and enjoy the celebrations the festive season brings, but are you aware how much damage obesity can actually have on your pet?

 

Pet Obesity

According to the RSPCA, pet obesity can be defined as an excess of body fat that is enough to impair health, welfare, and quality of life. Although these changes may be gradual, obesity in your pet can lead to a variety of medical problems and diseases such as:

 

  • Arthritis
  • Heart Disease
  • Respiratory problems
  • Increased risk of developing tumours
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Over 60% of vets say obesity is the biggest health and welfare concern for UK pets (BVA), so it important that you are aware of the signs and the steps you can take to manage obesity.

You can keep an eye on those extra inches that creep their way around your pet’s waistline by learning how to recognise the symptoms of obesity. One option is to weigh them regularly, monitoring and logging figures that may increase or decrease.

Another way of monitoring your pet’s weight is by checking how easy it is to feel their ribs. You should be able to slightly see the ribs and feel them when applying gentle pressure. You will know when your animal has picked up a few pounds when you can no longer feel their ribs due to excess fat. For cats, alarm bells should also ring if you notice that they have a sagging abdominal fat pad.

You should also watch out for changes in your pet’s behaviour. Signs such as constant panting, a lack of energy or frequent breaks during exercise could be a warning that your pet is carrying too much extra weight.

 

How can you prevent excess weight gain?

There are many steps you can take towards ensuring your pet does not become obese, which can include dietary alterations, exercise regimes and taking advantage of Medivet’s services.

Free weight clinics are available at many of our Medivet practices, which means you can arrange regular weigh-ins for your pets. Frequent visits will ensure that your pet’s weight can be easily monitored and your pet can receive the support they need in order to keep them in shape. Also, as a member of the Medivet Healthcare Plan, you will receive 10% off all vet-recommended food. To ensure your pet is receiving the correct nutrition that is tailored to their medical needs, why not visit your nearest practice where your vet can offer you the best advice?

The appropriate amount of food your pet needs will depend on its breed, age, size, and lifestyle. You can easily find feeding guidelines on the food packaging, but your vet may recommend an alternative feeding regime that will help keep your pet in shape. Although we all enjoy treating our pets, it is important that you restrict treats to as few as possible, such as when your pet obeys a command.

In order to avoid overfeeding your pet, designate one person in the house to feeding your pet. Communication with other family members is key to ensuring your pet has not been fed or given treats by everyone in the household. Your pet will never turn down a delicious snack, so it is important that you monitor their feeding closely.

Regular exercise is the key to keeping your pet healthy and in good shape. Remember that walking and running are not the only forms of exercise for your pet. There are all kinds of activities you can encourage them to do that will help them keep in shape and have fun too. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Cats:

  • Playing with toys
  • Playing games such as ‘Catch the Light’ where you shine a small torch on the floor and walls for your cat to chase
  • Short walks – harnesses can be purchased from your nearest Medivet

Dogs:

  • Regular walks
  • Playing fetch
  • Hide and seek
  • Swimming is ideal for dogs with back problems or arthritis. Ask your vet about hydrotherapy.

 

If you have any further questions about your pet’s weight and pet obesity, contact your local Medivet practice who will be able to give you a great depth of information regarding food, Medivet’s weight clinics and membership of the Medivet Healthcare Plan.

Good luck with your New Year’s resolutions, and don’t forget to keep us updated on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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