Keeping Pets Fit – WINTER
As those cooler months creep in Pet Insurance Australia has some top tips to help pet owners keep their cats and dogs in good health and ward off obesity.
“It’s that time of year when all of us would prefer to curl up on the couch with a hot drink than to head off to the park or walk around the block,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “However, it is vitally important – not only for us – but also our pets, that we do not become complacent with our exercise routines around this time of year.”
With pet obesity rates skyrocketing around Australia over the past decade, PIA is urging all Australian’s to keep active this winter.
“Obesity is a huge problem for our companion animals and it’s far more complex than just having a pudgy pooch or a fat cat,” Crighton says. “Obesity leads to many other complications in health and can even reduce the life expectancy of your beloved animal.”
With the winter months in full swing, many pets, like their human compatriots, will experience weight gain.
“This can be due to owners over-feeding and treating their pets with the wrong food – this combined with a reduction in exercise is a recipe for obesity,” Crighton says. “It’s also about abolishing the humour behind having an obese pet and realising that it’s detrimental to your companion animals’ health and overall wellbeing.”
Dr. Tony Gestier, Veterinarian and Director of Vetafarm, agrees that obesity is a big problem affecting many companion animals, and that now is the time to take action.
“It is estimated that over 40% of Australian dogs fall into the overweight and/or obese weight category. That is a staggering figure and one that needs to be taken quite seriously if the long term health and quality of life for our pets is important to us.”
Dr. Gestier understands that many pet owners are understandably concerned when their pets are underweight, however when cats or dogs are clearly overweight the same concern is just not present.
“While we certainly don’t advocate underfeeding our companion pets, in the typical household, health implications linked to excess weight is certainly the bigger risk factor,” he warns. “Overweight animals in many instances are simply viewed as ‘being on a good pasture’ or ‘well looked after’ – when in fact we can be creating serious long term health problems for our furry companions.”
TIPS TO KEEPING FIT
- Keep to a strict exercise routine – no matter the weather
- Consider indoor training activities when you are unable to walk your pet
- Do not feed your pet human fatty foods
- Invest in a good dog coat, and raincoat
- Seek help if you think your pet is overweight
- Treat your pets with good quality vet approved treats
- Use lean treats not fatty treats
- Ensure you have a consistent balance for foods and exercise
- Keep active in the cooler months
“Be sure to monitor food intake,” Dr. Gestier recommends. “All those gravy soaked roast dinner leftovers are terrible for packing on unwanted kilograms. Like all things, balance is very important. That applies to food, treats and to exercise. Find activities that you and your dog can enjoy together to remain active in the winter months, while being mindful of the diet you are providing for your animal. You are in charge after all.”