The other side of the weight loss coin is the amount of Calories used. Some pets are just naturally going to burn more Calories than others. Some are really going to have to work hard to burn those Calories. Getting exercise is important to the health of your pet, not only in terms of weight, but other aspects of their health as well. Playing in the yard, going for walks or jogs, swimming and getting up and moving around throughout the day are all good ways to burn some Calories. If your dog is overweight or obese, physical activity may be more challenging, even painful. Arthritis, knee problems, and simply having to do more work to move can make exercise more difficult. Consider providing shorter, easier forms of physical activity more often to reduce the burden on your pet.
Managing Symptoms & Providing Care
Your pet may have health complications related to their weight, such as arthritis or damage to the ACL. These situations are a hugely problematic cycle, because they are exacerbated by weight gain, while they also make weight gain more likely. Fortunately, we have some different ways of addressing these issues. Dr. Amy Hinze, CVT, can provide acupuncture to pets that are in pain. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain in both human and animal patients. Many of our patients with arthritis, intervertebral disc disease, and even internal medical problems have all benefited from this form of treatment. Dr. Amy Hinze is also able to provide Chinese herbal supplements that may improve the activity level and energy of your pet, making physical activity easier and more fun.
Pet rehabilitation is another set of modalities that have been used for patients with these problems. Linda Franzini, CVT, CCRP has been able to lead pets in aquatic therapy, laser therapy, and other physical therapies to reduce pain and inflammation, strengthen muscles, and burn Calories. She sees many arthritic patients, but some of the pets that use the aquatic treadmill are primarily using it for weight loss. The advantage of the aquatic treadmill is that it takes pressure off of the joints, making exercise less damaging to those sensitive areas while still allowing rigorous exercise for the cardiovascular system and muscles.