Each year, the average American gains roughly six pounds during the holiday season. And every January, my clients guiltily confess that their round hounds and festive felines were included in the feasts. It should therefore come as no surprise to hear that our pets tend to gain weight during the holidays as well.
If your New Year’s resolutions include getting in shape or shedding a few pounds, why not include your pets? Most of us could stand to be a bit more active. Our dogs would love nothing more than to join us on a walk or a bike ride. Classes in agility or nosework, and trips to dog-friendly parks are fun and inexpensive ways for the whole family to get out and get moving. If healthier eating is on your agenda, be sure to review your pet’s diet as well. It may be time to switch to a better, or more age-appropriate diet. Most importantly, throw away those commercial dog and cat treats. Treats are the caloric equivalent of candy bars, and most of my patients get several of these goodies every day! When you’re tempted to give your pet a treat, think of the treat as a king sized Snickers bar. It’s a fast and effective way of changing the way we humans think about pet treats.