It’s so cute when my dog begs for food while we’re cooking in the kitchen. He plants his golden retriever butt on the floor, sits and stays….until he’s kicked out of the room. My cats, too! I used to love it when they climb on counter because they knew I’d give them little bites of chicken…before I got married and my wife forbid any feeding of animals in the kitchen.
During the holiday season we all have to be careful of what and where we eat. It’s all those treats, special flavors and the many offerings that come with this time of year. The food is only half the battle, time seems tighter, everybody is busier and we don’t get the needed exercise. Those same emotions and feelings are happening with our pets, too.
Yes, the holiday season can be trying in many ways for our canine best friends. From the extra visitors, to the added food, travel plans and more, you pet owners need to start planning now to make the coming two months a successful one for your pets too.
It’s estimated that 40% of our pets are obese. Like obesity in humans, our pets do not get that way overnight. However, because of the overall smaller mass and lower weight, our pets can get there quicker. Ideally, you should be able to feel the ribs, granted some breeds are leaner than others, but feeling their ribs is the starting point to figuring out if your pet is obese.
For you dog owners, one solution is to get them losing weight is to feed them during meal times only and feed them dog food. Don’t feed them people food, don’t give them treats because they’re good dogs and don’t let your dog beg for food at the dinner table. Well that’s easy enough isn’t it? Yeah, we realize you have the best dog in the world, but you need to be strong and not give in to their cute face, their paw on lap or other cute tricks they’ll do to get food.
Cats and their staff (sometimes referred to as cat owners) also have some work to do. It’s important for you because feline obesity is a large (pardon the pun) indicator of diabetes and other obesity related disorders. It’s somewhat easier to notice an obese cat, but it’s also more challenging to address their overweight issue.
Cats are fed as much as we allow them to be. I know your cat has to have fresh tuna and will sneak into your closet and ‘forget’ about the litter box if you don’t feed them that. While that may be true, feed them smaller portions, put the food farther away so they have to walk more and feed them more meat. A cat, in their perfect world would have a large sofa with occasional access to a room with mice and birds. The diet we feed them, however, is much higher in carbohydrates, which can add unwanted pounds to our tabby.
A diet that has more meat will more closely resemble their natural feline diet and keep them more active, which will have them chasing and playing indoors, rather than in their perfect world.
The peak holiday season is right around the corner!! Have you made reservations at the doggie day care or arranged for a cat sitter? How are your pet’s vaccinations? There is still plenty of time to get these things done, but don’t rest too long because you’ll have plenty of company.