The first few days of cooler weather have finally made their way and as pet owners, this is a great time to increase our pet’s exercise routines. One of the most common problems our veterinarians in Tampa see regularly is overweight patients. Just like with humans, this condition can be contributing to other illnesses. The good news is if a routine is started, many of these illnesses can get better.
Veterinary medicine has many similarities to human medicine including many of the same illnesses. With our overweight patients, things such as degenerative joint disease, cardiac disease, and diabetes are more prevalent. Trying to get our dogs and cats to healthy weights is a struggle sometimes and requires a lot of commitment but if done with small gradual steps, your pet will reap large rewards including a longer, healthier life. Having your pet regularly examined is the first step in getting them back into shape. Our vets in Tampa know that there may be other factors such as decreased thyroid function which are contributing to your pets weight gain. If the veterinarian thinks that this is a contributing factor, blood testing can be conducted to diagnose this condition and medications started to reverse it’s effects. Discussing proper feeding and exercise routines should also occur during your visit. This is going to be the cornerstone to getting your pet back to a healthy weight. Each pet is a little different and will require more or less food and activity to achieve a good weight. The feeding guidelines on a bag of food are just a starting point, not rules set in stone. Making slight adjustments can lead to big changes in your pet’s body. Also, the composition of the food makes a huge difference. Dogs and cats tend to do better on low carbohydrate diets.
Exercise is the next important factor in your pet’s weight control routine. The best way to get started is slowly and consistently. This means start with short walks during cooler times of the day (so your pet doesn’t get overheated) and do it on a regular schedule. Actually writing down which days your going to walk with your dog may help get you into the groove. Gradually increase the length and frequency of the walks and you’ll notice a big difference in the way your dog looks and acts. For our cat patients, schedule playtime sessions with toys or laser pointers to get them moving.
Getting your pet to a good body condition is an important factor in their health. By taking slow, steady steps and with help from our veterinary staff in Tampa, you can get that extra weight off your pet and give them a happier, healthier life. Go out and enjoy a little of this cooler weather!!