How to Help Your Dog Maintain a Healthy Weight Through the Holidays

How to Help Your Dog Maintain a Healthy Weight Through the Holidays

November 25, 2021

Everyone faces challenges keeping the weight off over the holidays—including your dog. The holiday season is associated with numerous yummy foods, and your dog is bound to get in on it one way or another. Whether it’s racing under the table to collect the scraps or finding that one family member who’s a bit of a softy and will slip them an extra snack, your dog may be consuming more human food than usual.

The fact is that excess weight is a health problem for pets in the United States. Data shows that more than half of all cats and dogs are overweight, and the vast majority of pet owners aren’t certain how to tell whether this is an issue.

Let’s take a look at how you can keep your trim and fit all year round.

Consider caloric intake

If you’re looking to lose weight, you’d probably start by considering how many calories you consume every day. Same goes for your pet. That means cutting out the little snacks that you might throw to your dog and being more conscientious about their feedings. You can give them a bit of steak with their food every once in a while, but you definitely want to avoid feeding them baked goods.

How much should I feed my dog to maintain their weight?

Just because it’s the holidays, it doesn’t mean that you should be sharing extra food from the table with your dog. Keep the dog’s regular feeding schedule intact year-round. While 3 to 5 pounds of weight gain might not seem like a lot of weight gain for a human, for dogs, it can be a serious issue. For a smaller dog, this could drastically reduce the dog’s energy level and muscle mass.

How often should you weigh your dog?

If your dog appears normal and healthy, you only need to weigh the dog once every six months. Puppies need to be weighed more often to ensure that they’re growing well. If your dog suffers from a chronic illness, you may want to weigh them more often as well to ensure that they’re not losing weight. Conversely, if you know your dog has chowed down during the holiday season, you may want to weigh the dog to make sure it hasn’t put on several pounds.

Incorporate exercise

Regardless of the time of year, it’s important to get your dog outside for physical activity. It’s easy to forget this during the busy—and cold—holiday season. Keep your dog’s walking schedule during the holidays, and take them outside to play fetch as well. Not only will your dog’s mood and health improve, but it’ll be good for you too.

The next time you’re looking for caring, outstanding veterinary care, check out St. Francisville Animal Hospital. We’re equipped to meet all your pet’s needs from vaccinations to surgeries to wellness checks and more. We’ll even board your dog if you’re away this holiday season. Contact us now, and set up your first appointment.

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