New Year’s Resolution: Fitness for You and Your Pet

Greedy DogThe New Year looks promising!  2015 is going to provide us with the opportunity to start fresh and keep on top of the goals that are most important to us.  Many of us resolve to eat better, exercise more, lose weight, establish a more effective work/life balance, enjoy life more… our goals are endless!  As we establish (or try to establish!) our own goals, now is the time to establish similar goals for our pets. This is time to evaluate their health and happiness and make the changes necessary to guarantee the best of both.

Let’s start with obesity, which I am on a perpetual mission to bring awareness to. Obesity is one of the most common pet conditions. When it comes to our pets, we tend to equate food and treats with LOVE. An overdose of both is anything but. Obesity strains an animal’s internal organs, energy level and brings on sluggishness and discomfort.  Keep your pet in svelte, tip-top shape with these tips and, while at it, why not adjust these tips to stay svelte and in tip-top shape yourself? 

Portion Control is Key for Pets and Humans

If overeating is a problem in your household, have no fear.  There are ways to get past it.  For example, using the Cat Food Nutrition Calculator and Dog Food Calculator will help determine the proper serving size for your pet.  Portion control is an important part of weight loss management.  While managing your pet’s weight, entering your own calorie consumption into a spreadsheet or app like My Fitness Pal for you is an easy way to keep yourself from overindulging.

Make Exercise Fun by Making Progress Measurable

As important as eating a balanced diet is, regular exercise is equally important.  This is particularly true for dogs as they age.  Puppies have higher energy levels naturally.  They run and play the same way that children do. 

As dogs age, they become more sedentary.  That’s why daily walks are vital.  Use it as an excuse to lace up your trainers and burn some calories.  I’m not quite sure where they get the energy, but Opal and Dixie go for morning jogs that have ME panting. They’ll be 14 years old this year, but that doesn’t stop them. Up, over the hills, back down through the woods, all over the park, off they go with me, their mama, trailing behind. Kudos, girls!

You may want to purchase a pedometer like the Fitbit or Striiv to track your own progress.  Enter the information into your choice of fitness tracking app for good measure.  It will hold you accountable, which will benefit both you and your pet.

Consult a Physician and Veterinarian if the Pounds Don’t Come Off Easily

If you find that your diligent dedication is yielding no results, it’s time to seek professional help.  Contact your physician and/or your pet’s veterinarian for advice.  Rapid weight gain can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue.  It’s better to learn that there is problem before it compounds and causes serious problems for you, your dog or your cat.

Losing weight takes time and a commitment that some people aren’t ready to make.  By taking tiny action steps daily and applying the tips listed above, you and your pets can fight the battle of the bulge successfully.  As always, if you have any concerns about diet and exercise, seek the advice of an experienced professional.  They’ll be able to steer you in the right direction where you and your pet’s health is concerned.

Onwards and downwards (if we’re talking weight) in 2015!