Seasonal Cues: How To Keep The Pounds Off Your Pet All Year Round

A golden retriever running in a back yardThe giant sunflowers you planted last spring yielded hundreds of plump seeds.This is great news – especially for the backyard squirrels or birds. Slowly the infiltration begins: cautiously at first, and then boldly, these fluffy or furry scavengers take over in search of winter’s plentiful stockpile. Enter, your cat or dog, and prepare for a hearty, frisky run about the backyard.

Is this the type of seasonal exercise designed to keep pounds off your pet? Well yes, but also not exactly. All cheekiness aside (we certainly don’t advocate for chasing suburban wildlife up a tree), we’ve got some ideas to help your pet (and you, too) remain healthy this fall – and all the months to follow.

Getting Into The Groove

Our blog routinely explores the ways to inspire pet exercise and other weight management topics – for good reason. Obese pets are at a higher risk of developing arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney, heart, or lung diseases, certain types of cancer, and other serious health issues. Obesity can shave off approximately two full years off a pet’s life, yet at least 50% of our nation’s pets are considered overweight or obese.

And It’s Fun!

With the impending cooler weather, busy holiday schedules, and possible seasonal malaise, you may wonder how to get the ball rolling to either drop or keep pounds off your pet. What else is there besides feather chasers and tug of war? We’re glad you asked!

For Our Canine Friends

  • Walk with breakfast – A good possibility is to take Fido out for a walk and take along his or her meal. You can get both of your hearts pumping and then stop for a short break to munch. For your pet’s safety, do not allow him or her to eat during exertion.
  • Swimming or hydrotherapy – A great way to burn calories without pain is swim. We’d be happy to help you find a pet-friendly indoor pool to assist your aging or arthritic pet get some exercise.
  • Agility or obstacle course – If the weather’s too much to handle, stage your own inside the home. Long hallways work well for a variety of different household obstacles. Get creative!
  • Resistance Walk – On a nice fall or winter day your pet might enjoy exploring unique surface to walk on. Think sand, fallen leaves, snow, shallow water, or other rough surfaces in order to mentally and physically jazz up an otherwise mundane stroll.

For Our Feline Friends

  • Boxing – Your kitty probably loves to hide inside and peek out of boxes. Create a condo out of boxes and encourage him or her to explore. Endless fun and a fabulous way to burn up energy!
  • Hunting – You could stage your cat’s food in various parts of the house or the area he or she frequents the most. Dole out in several small portions and watch the hunt begin!
  • Lasers or Light Play – Pick up some flashlights or cat lasers and light up your cat’s life. We’ve never met a cat indifferent to these wonders, and you may soon notice signs of serious fun – and good exercise.
  • If you build it – There are so many cat tree designs to choose from, and it’s fairly easy to construct one at home. Climbing, jumping, and other feline tomfoolery are guaranteed flab-busters!

Keeping The Pounds Off Your Pet

Please keep in mind that if your pet exercises less often in the fall and winter, his or her food portions may need adjustment. Also, although people tend to give into tasty temptations throughout the colder months, your pet’s access to treats might need restriction, especially during the tantalizing holidays.

Whether your pet is young or gracefully aging, the colder months can cast a debilitating haze over his or her outdoor motivations. Meet Fluffy or Fido on his or her level and initiate indoor play first. Then, if applicable, slowly start to meander outdoors together. Dropping or keeping pounds off your pet should remain a priority year round, and  we’re available to help with any support. We look forward to hearing from you!