Get the New Year off to a Great Start

I read recently that about 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Did you? How are they going so far? I went to my gym this morning and it was full of new people – all those resolution-makers trying to get in shape or lose weight, I bet.

If fitness and weight loss is one of your goals for this year, I would urge you to take it one step further by including your pet in those goals. Veterinarians hesitate to tell you this, but it’s true: if you’re overweight, chances are your pet is, too. If you’re not getting enough exercise or are eating too much, or eating the wrong type of foods, the chances are that your habits are spilling over to your pet.

Carrying around extra weight is just as unhealthy for animals as it is for people. Extra weight can cause heart disease, diabetes, joint pain, and a whole host of metabolic disorders for animals, just as it does in people. Since our pets can’t make their own food choices or take themselves for walks, they need us to help them.

January 1 feels like a clean slate, a fresh start. So let’s start the New Year by helping our pets get healthy.
• Take dogs for walks every day. Not only is it good for dogs, its’ good for us, too. We all need fresh air, sunshine and physical activity. Strive to walk for 30 minutes, morning and evening. Or play fetch, chase or other physical games with your dogs.  There’s no reason why exercise can’t be fun!
• Play with your cats. Running, jumping, chasing and pouncing are the best ways to get your cats moving. All you need is some string to jiggle or a ball.
• Cut out the treats. I know this one is hard as our pets are expert beggars, but they don’t need those extra calories any more than we do. Treats should be given sparingly, if at all. Make sure that treats are wholesome, such as dried sweet potatoes or chicken strips. Look for treats with the Made in America label, as far too many pets have sickened and died from imported foods, especially those coming from China. Better, yet make your own treats!
• Talk to your vet about the healthiest food for your fur-baby. Some pets need special diets. Some flourish on whole, raw foods. Your vet can advise you on the best diet for your pets breed and lifestyle.

If you’re interested in even more resolutions that can help animals, check out this link for inspiration.

Happy, Healthy 2015 to you and your pets!

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  • Blog Author

    Dee Perez

    Dee Perez is lifelong animal lover and animal welfare proponent. She developed and taught a year-long series of university-level classes called Two-Legged and Four-Legged: Exploring Human Relationships with Animals that explored myriad issues around ... Read Full
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