Pet New Year Resolution

If you plan to make weight loss and health a new year's resolution for yourself, why don't you also do it for your pet?!

AVMA's pet weight-loss tips:

  • A visit to your veterinarian is the best way to determine if your pet is overweight, but there are things to look for to determine if you should make an immediate appointment for a puppy or kitty weigh in. A dog should have a discernible waist without fat deposits, and ribs should be easy to feel while stroking a dog. In cats, if there is any rounding of the abdomen or bulging in the back, limbs, neck or face, you've got a fat cat.
  • Feed your pets at least twice a day, and keep track of how much they eat (your veterinarian may ask). If the pet hasn't finished their food after about 20 minutes, take the bowl away to discourage overeating.
  • Monitor the number and size of the treats you give. A large dog treat can be over 100 calories, while a small treat has as little as 10 calories. If you can't help but repeatedly treat your beloved pet (because they're so incredibly good), break the snacks in half or even thirds to cut the calories.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about the best weight reduction plan for your overweight pet.
  • To exercise a cat, engage them with a feather, string or laser pointer, and try to get them running after a toy as they swat at it. To exercise a dog, consider agility training, play time with other dogs, and chasing a ball or Frisbee. There is no better exercise for dogs, horses and humans than a brisk walk.
  • Hypothyroidism is a risk factor for obesity in humans, dogs and cats, but it's much easier to diagnose in humans. If your dog or cat is obese without a clear cause, make a veterinary appointment.
  • Finally, if your pet is a little on the pudgy side, and you think it might benefit from an increased exercise regimen, see a veterinarian first. No exercise program should begin without a veterinary checkup.