The holiday season is upon us and it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. You may have noticed that your canine and feline friends have put on some weight too. You have reduced the amount of food you’re feeding and you walk your dog 5 miles a day, but you’re still asking yourself “how do I get my pet to lose weight?” The truth is those long walks and laser pointer sessions only account for 30% of weight loss for our pets. 70% of weight loss is achieved through proper nutrition.
This does not mean those long walks are not important; exercise is great to maintain proper musculature, mental health, and increase your bond with your pet. We merely mean to point out that we tend to underestimate calories and overestimate exercise in weight loss programs. One study suggests that a 20 pound dog will only burn about 64 calories during an hour long walk. But the medium size Milk Bone you give them when you get home has 40 calories. So continue to exercise with your pet, but really focus on proper nutrition in order to achieve weight loss.
Most of our pets are being overfeed by hidden calories. Many times we are giving them a little snack here and there that begins to pack on the pounds. Also, not all pet foods are equal. Pet food brands can range in calorie content from 120 calories to over 500 calories per cup. This means you could be feeding 1 cup a day of Brand A food, change foods to Brand B, and end up feeding your pet 3 times the calories without changing the amount you feed. Did you know that cup of milk you shared with your cat last night was equal to you eating 3 hamburgers as a midnight snack? And that dental chew you gave your dog this morning on the way out the door is equal to you having a chocolate bar for breakfast?
The key is to find a balance between calories in and calories out. At Pawsitive Strides Rehabilitation & Therapy in Des Moines, we offer a nutritional and fitness assessment as part of our weight loss consultation. We then develop a plan that works for both you and your pet to achieve the weight loss in a safe, healthy manner. To schedule your pet’s weight loss consultation please contact us at 515-575-9655 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org