dog on a marathon

New Year’s Resolution - Get Fit with Your Pet

New Year’s Resolution - Get Fit with Your Pet

You’re more likely to get fit with someone else – why not your pet?

colour-emma-nicholasMost of us start the year with resolutions to change bad habits – wanting to get fitter and lose weight is usually top of the list. It’s likely that both you and your pet would benefit from a few lifestyle tweaks. You’ve got a higher chance of succeeding if you do it with a friend – who’s a more loyal pal then your furry friend?

Take the dog for longer walks
Every dog owner knows you need to walk your dog daily - it’s the highlight of their day. If you usually go for a 20 minute walk add on ten minutes more everyday for the next week. Before you know it, you’ll have built up to walking for more than an hour.
Sometimes when I get home from our busy veterinary surgery going for a walk with my dog Humphrey on a damp, dark night isn’t at the top of my To Do List either, but I quickly find that after a few minutes pounding the streets with my headphones on listening to my favourite music when the park is closed really helps me to unwind, keep fit and improves my quality of sleep too.

Cut down on the calories
canicrossWith a little bit of forethought cutting the calories for you and your pet is easier then you might think. Most of us consume more calories than we need. Did you know neutered dogs require far fewer calories than their unneutered friends?
If your pet is neutered switching to a special pet food range designed for neutered animals is a simple way to help maintain a lean body mass. If your pet is overweight I know our veterinary nurses are always happy to give advice on diet and exercise and recommend special low calorie foods. Most vets have a free weight watchers club which helps to get off those unwanted pounds.

Bring out your cat’s wild side
If your cat likes to visit the neighbours you’ll know it’s impossible to completely control their food intake even if they run it off hunting for mice. Indoor cats are often very sedentary and even though you can control their diets they burn off very few calories in a day.
two cats waiting for foodCats are predators and you can encourage their natural hunter behaviour whilst stimulating their brains with cat toys. Also try and feed your cat in several places in the house so they have to move about it eat.
You can make your kitty work for their dry food by putting it inside an empty plastic bottle with holes in it. Start with big holes and then once they get the hang of it make a new one with smaller holes to keep up their interest.
It's good to encourage your cat to play and use up their energy; we often respond to a meowing cat by thinking they're hungry but sometimes all they want is a cuddle or a few minutes of attention.

Top up on carrots and kale
AdobeStock_42581461Rabbits often suffer from obesity. Their main diet should be hay or grass with only a small handful of extruded rabbit food each day.
Offer your rabbit plenty of fresh food ideally the part of the vegetable we find difficult for our teeth like carrot tops and kale stalks.
We'd all benefit from a little more fresh vegetable and a few less snacks.

What are your resolutions?
Let me know what you’re up to with your pet on the Facebook page for Notting Hill & Barons Court Vet.
Happy New Year!

Emma the Vet

Notting Hill & Barons Court Vet


NB - For tips on weight management in dogs and cats, plus the benefits of neutering see our dedicated advice pages which you might find a useful addition to the above. Weight control foods suitable for cats, dogs and small pets can also be found on our website.