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How Can I Manage My Pet’s Weight In Lockdown?

With the family cooped up at home, it’s easier than ever to over-feed and under-exercise. Here are our best tips to keep your pet at a healthy weight.

Coronavirus measures mean pets all over the country are spending more time indoors, and owners may worry about their wellbeing. Carrying too much weight puts stress on an animal’s joints and ligaments, which can eventually lead to arthritis, and there’s also increased risk of respiratory problems.

Regulations still allow for one exercise excursion a day, but it’s also important to actively manage your pet’s weight during lockdown.

Measure their food intake

We always advise measuring your pet’s meals accurately, especially when they may be doing less exercise.

Work out how much is appropriate for them in accordance to guidelines found on the packaging and use a measuring cup or, better yet, digital scales.

Splitting the daily food intake into smaller, more regular meals might suit your animal better: try it, and see if they’re happier.

Stay as active as you can

Even in a small indoor space, there are plenty of activities to keep your pet moving. You could put one of their meals into a puzzle feeder or hide dry food in different places for them to find, keeping them active and engaged when they eat.

Outdoor games like Fetch, Hide and Seek and Tug of War can be played on a smaller scale inside.

If you have a cat, using toys that encourage movement – wand toys, jungle gyms and a like – will keep them from being too sedentary.

Keep an eye on treats

Dogs only need around 20-30 calories per pound of body weight – and shop-bought treats can be more calorific than we realise.

If you’re using indoor time to train your pet, consider using some of their meal allowance for rewards instead. Don’t forget that human food, especially table scraps, tends to be much higher in fat than animals need. Try to resist your pet’s puppy-dog eyes, and if you do feed them from your plate, choose safe fruits and vegetables (see this full list of dog-safe food for reference).

One of our fully trained Veterinary Nurses will be more than happy to offer you further you further tips and advice over the phone on 01252 844044 for our Hartley Wintney branch, 01256 844944 for our Basingstoke branch or 01252 877799 for our Firgrove branch.

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