Are you making a New Year’s resolution for 2019? While many people set goals to get healthy in the new year, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Pet Food Institute (PFI) encourage pet owners to proactively review their pet’s health in 2019, as well.
“Just as you should consult your physician before embarking on a new fitness or nutrition regimen, you should consult with your pet’s veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet or starting them on a new exercise program,” said Dr. John de Jong, president of AVMA.
Published studies suggest that up to 59 percent of dogs and cats may be overweight, though there isn’t a single cause or cure. While overfeeding is a common cause of pets gaining weight, other factors such as endocrine disorders may affect your pet’s metabolism, including hypothyroidism or hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s Syndrome).
Your veterinarian can assess your pet’s ideal weight, caloric needs, and any contributing health issues. If your pet does need to lose weight, work with your veterinarian to develop a safe weight reduction plan.
“As we make a commitment to ourselves in the new year, it’s important to also consider ways we can support our four-legged family members,” said Dana Brooks, president and CEO of PFI. “Just a few simple steps can help support a pet’s wellbeing in 2019, such as keeping them at a healthy weight and providing a complete and balanced diet.”
Specific steps for unique challenges include:
“Just like humans, overweight dogs and cats are more likely to get diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, skin conditions, liver disease and joint problems,” says Dr. de Jong. “Starting a diet and exercise regimen for both you and your pet in 2019 will result in improved health and perhaps a longer life for both of you.”
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