If you have fallen victim to the "COVID 15" (gaining weight during the lockdowns), most likely so has your pet. It's time to look at how this happened and how best to deal with the extra pounds on your pooch.
Snacking Instead of Walking
When you're in the office, food is not as readily available, but if you are working from home, food is a matter of a few steps away. It's so easy to get up, grab a few chips, and go back to the kitchen table, couch, or home office. Do this a few times a day, and the calories really start to add up. Now think of how many times you stop to give your pet a little nibble of your snack. Again, do this a few times a day, and the pooch pounds are going to start adding up. Now think of replacing those snacks with a quick walk about the block. Our very own Dr. Beil states, "I always tell owners the simplest form of activity is to go far a daily walk. Many of them agree that they themselves should be more active. Walking benefits both the owner and their pets."
Stress Eating Together
Canines are amazing creatures. They have the ability to know how we are feeling and even mirror that behavior. When you're excited, they're excited, but if you're feeling stressed and start stress eating, your pup is likely to mimic that behavior. Now is the time to look at your eating habits to see if you are taking on an increased calorie count.
Too Many Treats
Since most of us have been home more with our pets, the amounts of treats given to pets have also increased. If you give treats for your pup going outside to do his business, the number of times he's going to expecting a treat is going to go up. And if you are one of those parents that can't resist those big, sad-eyed stares, you have obviously been around your pup more to get those begging sessions.
Time to Get Out and Moving Again
"I would say that the patients I have seen so far have gained a little weight this past year. Coming from Texas, where it was quite hot most of the year, I saw far more overweight pets compared to those I have seen here so far. I think that the biggest reason is that the pets here are far more active," according to Dr. Beil. And he's right; thankfully, we live in an amazing place with trails, the Greenbelt, dog parks, and so many other pet-friendly activities.
Back to the Office
If you are heading back to the office, doggy day camp is a great way to get your pup lots of exercise, socialization, and even mental stimulation. Even if you are continuing to work remotely, getting your canine into doggy day camp can be beneficial to both of you. He'll get social time and exercise while you get uninterrupted work time.
It's always best to talk to your veterinarian about the best way for your pet to lose those extra pounds. Remember, it's not about trying to make weight goals but improving their quality of life.