#PetObesityMonth: A pet slimming programme


If your dog is a good walker, why not take him with you when you go jogging or cycling? Photo submitted.

While it may not feel like it now, before we know it summer will be here, meaning there’s no better time than the present to get yourself and your furry friend into shape, advised Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Marycke Ackhurst, pet behaviour expert from Hill’s Pet Nutrition explained, “As the weather gets warmer many of us will be focusing on our diet and exercise regime. So, if your pet is carrying a bit too much winter weight, why not join the petslimmer.co.za programme for eating guidelines, weight-loss assistance and exercise tips for your furry friend?”

She added, “Pet parents take pride and joy in knowing that the love and attention they give their pets can be seen by others. Hearing your pet is overweight can be more heartbreaking than hearing it about yourself. When it comes to loving our pets, we often think that the more we treat them, the more we love them. However, when that attention is too much food and not enough exercise, then it can become a weight problem which can lead to serious health issues.”

The challenge, she said, can lie in trying to schedule exercise time into our already jam-packed lives.

“Exercising your pet doesn’t have to be time-consuming though and can very easily fit into your daily life,” Marycke said.

She recommended trying to incorporate the following:

For dogs:

  • Instead of a leisurely stroll, why not pick up the pace a little and get your and your dog’s heart rate going, which will help the extra layers melt away? Adding a little resistance training by walking on different surfaces or climbing over tree trunks or benches is also recommended. Remember to be responsible when walking your dog – pet parents should always ensure that they walk their dogs in an area that is dog-friendly and if your dog does not play well with others, please ensure that he is on a leash
  • Do you have stairs at home? Get your dog to follow you up and down them a few times a day. If they need some persuasion, throw their favourite toy up and down the stairs, creating a fun game. Remember to alternate arms so that you can get a good arm workout in the process.
  • If you have access to a swimming pool, dam, river or the beach, and your dog is water-happy, this is a great way to get them to exercise and have fun at the same time. Never leave your pets in water unattended and ensure that they know how to get out by themselves should they need to. Swimming is great exercise for older pets, as it has less impact on their joints.
  • If your dog is a good walker, why not take him with you when you go jogging or cycling, as long as it is in a safe environment for him to do so.
  • If your dog’s fitness is a little questionable, why not build them up to a jog or cycle with you by increasing distance and speed over time? Always make sure this is done in a safe environment and don’t allow your dog off his leash in traffic-heavy areas. Even the most well-trained dogs can take fright.

For cats:

  • Cats love toys and playing, so having these easily accessible encourages them to play and keep active. Some great options are balls, ping pong balls, or even a scrunched-up piece of paper. A wand, cat tickler and high scratch post encourages hunting, running and jumping.
  • Boxes are also entertaining for cats. You can place these around the house and encourage them to climb in and out of an empty box.
  • Many cats love playing hide and seek. Hide their toy and have them run through the house to find it. Your cat will love this quality time with you and won’t even realise that they are exercising.
  • When feeding your cat, change her feeding place on a regular basis so that she can ‘hunt’ for her food. Placing the food on a raised area will also make her work that little bit harder.

“What you are feeding your pet, and how much, play a pivotal role to their weight. Sixty-eight per cent of pet parents don’t follow feeding guidelines, which is frightening as this is integral to weight loss and weight management. If you are unsure of how much you should be dishing up, ask your vet who can guide you on the correct quantity for your pet,” Marycke said.

She added that exercising your pet means that you are dedicated to their health, spending time with them, and their overall well-being. However, before you start any new exercise regime, be sure to consult your vet and start your pets off slowly to ease them into their new active lifestyle.

“There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before adding new exercises, such as their age, fitness level and breed. Some pets are not able to handle certain types of exercise, but will thrive on others.”

Visit www.petslimmer.co.za for more information and details of how to get your pet in shape this summer.

Source: Randfontein herald


Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.