As we get ready to enjoy the warmer weather, you might discover that your pup’s collar has gotten a wee bit tight over the winter months. But that added weight from hibernation can have a serious impact on their joint and muscle health. So it’s important to take advantage of the warmer weather and start getting your pets back in shape. We’ve got some great tips to get you started.

Enjoy getting into shape together! There are tons of activities you can do with your dog that will help you both to feel happier and healthier. Freestyle, agility, and canicross are all great dogsports that engage your pup and you. They strengthen bonds, and muscles!

Know your pet’s limits. Again, just like for humans, you don’t want to over train them. If your pup is used to a leisurely 30 minute walk a couple of times a day, don’t start suddenly taking them for 5k runs. They need to build up muscle, strength, and endurance slowly. This is especially critical for puppies—too much, too fast, can result joint development problems.

Don’t fall into the “backyard exercise” trap. While having a yard is wonderful for dogs, they need the mental and physical stimulation from going for walks. And if they have put on a little winter weight, it’s the best way to get them back to their best! Many cats also enjoy the opportunity to visit parks on a harness and lead. They may not jog alongside you like a dog, but they’ll still have a great time.

Watch what they eat. If you’re doing training work with your pets, don’t forget to deduct the amount of treats you’re giving them from their regular mealtimes. In fact, you can skip “dinners” altogether and give them their food as training treats if they’re on kibble. Also remember that it’s not the size of the treats, but how many they get, that counts to a dog. People tend to mistakenly think that a big dog needs massive treats, or that they appreciate bigger treats more than small ones. Not true! As long as a treat smells fantastic, even a Great Dane won’t care if it’s only the size of a pea!

Now get out there with your pets and MOVE! But more importantly, have fun!!

Beware of ticks!

Warmer weather means an increase in exposure to ticks and fleas during your outdoor adventures! Come in to chat with us about options for protection like Revolution and Simparica.

Royal Canin Calorie Control

If your pet needs a little more help shedding those winter pounds, you might want to consider a calorie-controlled diet like the one available from Royal Canin in our office, for both dogs and cats!