Controlling your pet’s weight should also be included in your New Year’s resolutions.

Controlling your pet’s weight should also be included in your New Year’s resolutions.

The saying “new year, new life” is always felt in the atmosphere on these dates. And resolutions are the order of the day everywhere: “I am going to save more”, “I am going to work for the promotion I want”, “I am going to make more time for the family”, and one of the most popular: “I am going to lose weight” … And why not include the pet in that resolution to lose weight?

According to APOP (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention) statistics, 60% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. There are more than 20 diseases related to being overweight in pets, obesity itself being a disease. In fact, a study from the Waltham Institute shows that obese dogs live shorter lives.

The reality is that it is supposed to be easier for pets to lose weight than for us because they do not open the refrigerator and most of them do not find it easy to search through our kitchen cupboards. The situation that complicates this is that humans express love through food and many times we want to transfer this to our pets, with more food than they need or giving them food that is not appropriate for them.

But the perception of pets towards food is very different: Pets eat what is given to them and do not get “bored” of their food.. Furthermore, they do not satisfy an emotional need through food, as we do.

Therefore, the portion of their food should be proportional to the size of the animal, but it is something that many keepers lose perspective. A piece of food that is small for us is not small for a 10-pound dog. It is very important to measure portions to reduce weight in pets and the ideal is to do it with a kitchen scale.

It is also important that The food given to the obese pet is special for weight management so that it provides the sensation and offers the benefits of satiety.. This reduces the pet’s begging behavior and preserves lean body mass, among other benefits. In fact, there are specialized foods – which are purchased through veterinarians – that offer the feeling of satiety, in addition to offering the necessary nutrients.

The components of exercise, that of a prescription diet of a specific food that contains all the necessary nutrientsyes and periodic monitoring by the veterinarian every 15 days, Weighing the animal, preferably at the same time of day and on the same scale, is crucial for weight reduction in pets. Consistency is also vital, since the average weight loss program for a pet is 6 to 9 months.

The veterinarian must play an important role in this process, helping the guardian accept that their pet suffers from this disease. You should also be aware that it is part of your job to motivate the guardian to continue with treatment and reward him or her in some way. Weight reduction programs are an opportunity for the veterinarian to develop a closer relationship with the guardian and their pet.

Some suggestions for my veterinary colleagues about rewards for guardians who achieve their pets’ ideal weight could range from diplomas for completing phases of the process, to financial compensation, such as incentives when purchasing food or veterinary visit packages, to gifts such as Free grooming.

If you follow these tips, I guarantee that at least one member of the family will fulfill their resolution for the year before next Christmas.

(The author is a veterinary doctor and Scientific Communication coordinator at Royal Canin Puerto Rico)

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