Having trouble buttoning your favorite pair of jeans after the holiday? Could you use a little more pep in your step? According to the Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity an estimated 54% of Dogs and Cats in the United States are Overweight or Obese, while the Center For Disease Control states that the percent of adults age 20 years and over who are obese is a whopping 35.9, and that’s not just during the holidays. Why not resolve to make 2014 the healthiest year yet for both you and your canine companion?
Here are a few suggestions for making this happen.
Be aware. Is your dog overweight? How can you tell? According to Veterinarian, Janet Tobiassen Crosby,
- Stand over your pet viewing the back. Look for a nice curved indentation in the area of the waist (just behind the rib cage). A pet with a “straight line” from head to tail, or even a bowed-out line along the back, could likely mean that your pet is overweight.
- View your pet from the side. There should be a nice “tuck up” area behind the rib cage and before the hind legs. A pet with a “straight line” or a saggy area in the belly area could likely mean that your pet is overweight. Cats are especially prone to fat collecting in the belly area; areas that are easily viewable from the side.
- Gently run your fingers along your pet’s rib cage. The ribs should be felt easily and the skin should glide over the ribs smoothly, as opposed to large “sheets” of fat moving along the ribs.
- View your pet’s face. A rounded face or visible folds of skin around the face and under the chin could likely mean that your pet is overweight — this depends somewhat on breed.
- Check the area above the base of the tail; overweight pets have extra padding and folds in this location.
Create a plan. Just like humans, dogs can lose weight in two ways. Either decrease their food intake (amount of calories eaten each day) or increase their activity. So create a plan. If amount is the problem, start decreasing the amount you are feeding at each meal gradually. If you dog seems obsessed with food supplement some of the amount you are feeding with a few baby carrots or some green beans. If you also need to get in shape, the same advice is good for you.. Try to choose foods that support good health for both you and your dog, especially when it comes to treats. Supplement high calorie snacks for more nutritious choices like fresh fruits and veges
Move, Play, Walk, Run. Schedule regular playtime with your dog. Increasing your dog’s activity level will help both of you burn more calories. Play with your dog every day, as well as scheduling regular walks, hikes or runs. Try a new dog sport like agility or flyball. Remember if your dog has been a couch potato, start out slowly, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your movement time and don’t forget to include massage as part of your new year, new you program. Attend one of my canine massage classes to find out how you can give your canine workout buddy a great all over massage to prevent any soreness or stiffness after working out.
Take the challenge. Get fit with your dog and consider it a healthy gift for both of you and a great way to start the new year.