NUTRITION & HEALTHY DIET
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for your companion, by introducing high-quality nutrition and an exercise regime.
I’m not the type of person that can eat whatever she feels like without having it show up soon after on my mid-section. Although my will is not unbreakable, I try to decline when offered treats at work, and choose a healthier option from the menu when eating out. I rarely have dessert (more because I don’t have a sweet tooth and less because I have a will of steel). I’m not perfect; I get cravings and have caved during a moment of weakness. In those cases, I try to spend a few more minutes on the treadmill to make up for it.
Reese can take or leave treats and will decide when she’s had enough of her breakfast or dinner. Reese is motivated by toys, not food. Ironically, this little girl could ‘free feed’ and could eat more than what is recommended for her size, and she would most likely not gain an ounce. She would use that energy for fetch! Henry – not so much.
Henry is the type of dog that, if he could figure out how to rip a bag of food open, (just an example as we don’t feed kibble). He would surely over eat his way to an early death! Sadly, over-eating to the point of bloat and death is not uncommon.
Henry is respectful of Reese and waits for her to finish eating what she wants before helping himself to any leftovers (respect is questionable – he just knows better than to get in her way). I do a quick check to see how much food remains in her dish before permitting Henry to finish Reese’s meal. If a fair bit remains, I remove the temptation. If it’s a tiny amount, he is permitted to finish it.
I also cut down on Henry’s dinner portion the nights we have agility training due to the number of treats rewarded during each session. Poor little man takes after his mama, and the extra treats show up not long after consumption. ‘H’ is the type of dog that would easily gain weight if not exercised properly. Weight gain and difficulty managing weight become more difficult as we age. Henry and I are not teenagers anymore. Once the weight is gained, dogs may be less willing to exercise, and as is the vicious circle, the extra weight makes exercise more difficult and can affect bones, joints, digestive and respiratory systems.
Fattening up your companions does not make them ‘cute.’ They are at risk for serious health issues and reduced lifespan!
“Multiple pet owners have been prosecuted for cruelty to animals due to their dangerously obese dogs.”
Check with your vet to determine the ideal weight for your companion. Your vet will assess your dog or cat by measuring the full body composition as well as weight.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention , it is estimated that 53% of adult dogs and 55% of adult cats in the United States are classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians. That’s 88.4 million pets! Pet owners are beginning to realize the full extent of the impact this excess weight has on our companions. Perhaps, in part due to a growing number of campaigns launched by animal welfare organizations and pet food companies to generate further awareness and support to pet owners.
Other causes may include:
-Insulinoma or Diabetes
Just like humans, it is important to balance food and exercise. Calories consumed – Calories burned = Weight Loss.
Therefore, feeding a dog more calories than they can expend will result in weight gain. High-calorie food, extra treats and inconsistency in feeding routine may also contribute to weight gain.
Steps for Weight Loss:
(do you see what I did there?)
-Reduced caloric intake
(speak with your vet about eating plan/recommended food and feeding routine)
-Increased amount of exercise
I love spending time with my family; long walks along the lake or discovering a new trail, playing fetch or practicing new tricks. I need to keep up my level of fitness to keep up with Henry in the agility ring. I want to be around for my loved ones as long as I can. The sad reality is that our furry family members won’t be with us as long as we would like. As Pet owners, it is our responsibility to ensure they receive the BEST care. By doing so, we can help them live happy, healthy lives for as long as possible.
Although this post is geared more towards dogs, cats are also at risk for obesity. The same general principals apply although methods of exercise may need to be modified. Catnip energizes Ricky, and he flies around the house after his toys and that thin red laser line. I haven’t noticed catnip causing a case of the munchies!
Gluttony, derived from the Latin gluttire meaning to gulp down or swallow, means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items to the point of extravagance or waste.
Henry and Reese’s wardrobe provided by Kipekee Couture