Obesity rates in the U.S. have risen dramatically over the past few years, a fact mostly attributed to common bad habits: eating too much and not exercising enough. Unfortunately, recent studies show that this trend applies to pets as well as to humans. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about half of all American pets are overweight.
Ultimately, whether you're trying to get your pal in shape in preparation for for a pet relocation or just want to keep health problems at bay, it's a good idea to promote good eating habits, frequent activity and regular vet visits. This is an especially tough time of year to be virtuous, but when longevity and health
are at stake, it's important to set goals
and aim to keep them - even when plates of holiday goodies tempt us with their charms.
Don't wait until the New Year to get on track; here are a few simple ways to help keep your pet fit, healthy and happy during the holidays and all year long.
-First of all, it's important to have a good relationship with a vet. Regular check-ups are a must, and it's vital to have someone to turn to in case of emergency. If your pet is overweight, discuss the possible reasons with your doctor. It could be that you're accidentally overfeeding your four-legged friend, or perhaps a medication is causing slow metabolism.
-Recognize that activity is key for both health and behavior. Even when it's cold outside, your pets need to have a way to burn off energy. Walks, dog park visits, play dates and indoor playtime can all make a difference, and that includes cats, too. Most kitties enjoy attention, and the roly poly ones need it most of all.
-When visiting family during the holidays (our recent survey found that most of you will be bringing your pets along), make sure to talk to everyone about what is okay to feed to Fido and what is against the rules so as to stick to your pet's usual diet and calorie intake. It's hard to deny our pets an occasional treat, but meals consisting of leftovers and bacon bits, even if given out of love and affection, will not bode well for your pet's weight-loss results.
-Since it can be tough to tell how much a pet weighs from one day to the next, consider buying a scale to keep track of things. Try not to obsess over the numbers or weigh too often, but it's helpful to be able to notice slow and steady progress or any dramatic changes.
Read more about pet obesity prevention here, and best of wishes in staying healthy and safe this holiday season!