Chesterfield, MO, December 2, 2020 – In October 2017, a clinical study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese. This number continues to rise. Obesity in dogs can lead to respiratory issues, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and a slue of other health problems, so it is important to keep your pet at a healthy weight.
During the winter months, it is more important than ever to keep your pet active to combat weight gain. The weather may be less than ideal for long walks or trips to the park, but exercise – both physical and mental – is still essential for your dog’s health.
Here are just a few ideas for keeping your pup happy and healthy when the weather keeps you both indoors.
Fighting Pet Obesity in the Winter
Treat with intention.
We all love to spoil our pets, but make sure you are offering treats with intention. Make your dog work for them by using them as a training tool or hiding them in an enrichment toy.
Exercise their mind.
Keep your dog’s gears turning with enriching games you can play indoors. Try playing hide and seek with your dog by distracting them with a treat and then hiding in another room.
Make dinnertime an enrichment activity.
Mealtimes are most likely already your dog’s favorite time of day. Make them even more special by adding a little challenge to their routine. Use a slow-feeding bowl or a snuffle mat to slow your dog down while eating and make them work for their food. These are also a great way to keep your pets from scarfing their food, which can also be a factor in pet obesity.
Exercise their nose.
You might not think about it, but all dogs no matter size or breed can be trained in nosework. Hide treats or toys throughout the house and encourage your dog to sniff them out.
Consider dog daycare.
There is no better exercise for a dog than playing with other dogs. If your pup plays well with others, consider a dog daycare facility. Your dog will be occupied while you’re at work during the day, and you’ll bring home a very happy dog at the end of the day.
Bundle up and take one for the team.
Chances are you are way more sensitive to the cold than your dog is. Throw on a couple extra layers and take your pup out for a quick game of fetch. Your dog will thank you.
Pet obesity should always be a topic of conversation at the vet’s office. Just like humans, your dog’s weight can fluctuate during the winter months, so consult your veterinarian to make sure your pet is happy and healthy at their current weight.