It’s not uncommon for people to put on a few pounds over the holiday season. With the onset of colder temperatures, activity levels drop, and hibernation mode sets in. However, this is not limited to humans, as your pet may also experience winter weight gain.
Dogs who used to get a daily walk outside and cats accustomed to exploring the yard are now confined to the cozy indoors. Meanwhile, we are tempted to indulge our pets with tasty treats and special foods during our celebrations. Lower activity levels and extra holiday treats can put our pets at risk for taking in more calories than they can burn – resulting in weight gain. So, what can be done to help?
Prevention is Key
If your pet is already in good shape and active, make sure they continue to exercise throughout the winter months. Whether this means a game of indoor fetch, a romp through the snow in the backyard, or a good hike when the weather allows, try to be active as often as possible to allow your pet to work off excess calories.
If your pet isn’t getting near enough exercise time regardless of the changes you’ve made, consider cutting back on their calorie intake a bit to compensate for the lower level of activity. Gradually offering fewer treats and lowering the amount of kibble being fed at mealtimes should help offset the effects of lower activity levels during the winter. It’s also worth noting that the quality of treats being fed can significantly impact the health of your pet. Opt for low-calorie, superfood-type treats with wholesome, recognizable ingredients rather than treats high in calories that contain ingredients like sugar, molasses, and rice syrups.
A little math can also help ensure that you are not offering so many treats that you are essentially canceling out the reduction in calories made by decreasing your pet’s mealtime portions. All pet treats should have a calorie content listed on the back of the packaging. Similarly, this information should also be available near the Guaranteed Analysis on the back of your pet’s food packaging, usually in calories (or the equivalent Kcal) per cup format. If your pet’s kibble contains 400 calories per cup, for example, and you typically feed a cup per day but have now decreased this amount to ½ cup, you have created a calorie reduction of 200 calories. To see the benefits of your pet’s winter dietary changes, you will need to ensure that you are offering less (ideally much less) than 200 calories of treats per day; otherwise, your well-intended changes may cancel out. Therefore, finding quality, low-calorie treats for your pet is equally essential to long-term weight management.
Weight Loss Plans
If your pet is already overweight, a bit more change will likely be required. High-calorie treats should be eliminated, and meal portions should be cut back significantly to get your dog or cat on the path to healthy living. You may also consider transitioning your pet to a ‘Trim’ or ‘Weight Management’ recipe, which can help decrease the amount of fat in your pet’s diet. These recipes may also contain ingredients like L-Carnitine, an amino acid that can help your pet metabolize fat in their diet.
As with any major changes to your pet’s lifestyle, we recommend talking with your vet before beginning a new weight-loss plan. It is important to first confirm that your pet doesn’t have any underlying conditions that could be causing weight gain. Once cleared, your veterinarian can also help you determine an appropriate daily amount of food to provide your pet and help you structure and implement an achievable exercise regimen.
Monitoring your Pet
If you are concerned about your pet gaining weight during the winter, pay a visit to the veterinarian at the start of the season and have their weight recorded. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to look and feel for certain landmarks of an overweight or obese body condition, such as feeling for the ribs and spine. It could also be helpful to weigh your pet once a month to make sure the pounds aren’t creeping up and that they are maintaining (or losing) weight as needed. Maintaining a healthy weight in your pet will help ensure a longer, healthier life and even aid in joint health as your pet ages by keeping off excess pounds that could add strain to bones and joints.
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I have a Staffordshire bull massive cross so she’s a big girl and unfortunately she has tons of allergies she can’t have any chicken poultry duck nothing of any kind of anything like that she doesn’t any of the fish products she won’t eat the one thing that I have found that she absolutely dies for is your new low canned beef products unfortunately it’s just shy of five dollars again so I’m just wondering I live all his disability Alberta
AISH so it makes it very difficult to be able to buy that product for my dog so I’m just wondering if you guys have any kind of where you can order directly through you so it’s not so expensive in the stores I shop every store dog store in Calgary Alberta and everywhere I find it it’s 499 I’ve never found it on sale I always find the other flavours on sale but never the beef and literally it’s one of the only things she’ll eat mixed in with your kibble so or with a beef kibble but she won’t eat the kibble unless she has a can of that amazing new logo I don’t know if I’m saying it correct but canned dog food the beef flavour it’s like a big human stew it’s amazing so I was just wondering if you have any coupons or anything any throw out that you or throw backs it kickbacks that you’re able to give to somebody obviously I I would never expect anything for free or an ongoing thing but it would really hope that this is your as we’re going through this time of year I have severe health issues that stop me from being able to go out so I it makes it really difficult but if there’s anyway or any chance that you guys have coupons or I could directly order the cans from you directly that would be amazing if you could get back to me my name is Julie Mcdonald and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your brand and I can’t tell you how many we have tried so I am over the hill and thrilled that I finally found something that she can eat and not be constantly in an allergic immune reactive state so thank you so much for that. Love lies and gratitude. Thank you for building such an amazing brand that’s not filled with a bunch of crap that so many companies have it’s amazing how many companies they claim they’re all beef and when you read the ingredients they have chicken in them so I just I love you guys anyways I hope you have a great day a blessed weekend and I truly hope that this is an amazing year for new lol 2022. Much love much gratitude Namaste