Maybe your pants have felt a little snug as the pandemic continues. If you're even putting pants on, that is. But, what about your pets? Have you noticed them putting on some COVID weight as well? Chances are that both you and your pet have seen a decrease in the amount of exercise over the last several months, which may account for the uptick on the scale. But as many locations have experienced heat waves and have limited areas to do outdoor activities, what is a person (and pet) to do? Forbes reports that too little exercise is causing epidemic levels of canine obesity, lethargy and behavioral problems. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that one in four dogs is now considered obese. Heart disease and diabetes are spiking upwards in our canine companions as well. First, as with any good column offering advice, we recommend you consult with your veterinarian first. I was not surprised to find out that my older dog had put on some weight. We both had. What was surprising was that she had gained roughly 13 pounds in less than a year. WHAT? I exclaimed, baffled, to my pet's doctor. After some thyroid medication adjustments and a repeat blood test, her weight was holding steady and the answer turned out to be medical. If, however, your pet has a non-medical reason for weight gain, we offer up the following advice to help curb the gain. Most entities suggest that you exercise your pet anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour per day. The types of exercise should consider:
A senior may not require high intensity exercise and a puppy may need something vigorous but not taxing on their growing bodies. If you happen to have an adult in good health you've hit the sweet spot for exercise.
Another factor to consider are weather related conditions, which make it harder for certain short nose breeds to breathe. And depending on where you workout with your pet, asphalt and concrete temperatures should be considered so as not to damage the pads on your dog's paws.
As many times as you've heard it, we are all in this together. That includes taking the time to make sure both you and your pet find a way to get in enough exercise and the right type. After all, any activity that extends the length and quality of your pet's life is one worth taking advantage of.
We will see you and your pet outdoors, at a safe distance, soon!