Weight Loss Tips

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February 2013 Tip: Boredom Busters for Winter Blues

Do you sigh as the weatherman predicts another day of bitter cold temperatures? Does your dog give you the “are you crazy - I am not going out there” look when you open the door to another day of rain? Are your pets starting to go stir crazy from boredom?

Here are a few indoor games to help your cats and dogs beat the bad weather boredom - To read more, Click Here.

January 2013 Tip: 2013 Pet Resolutions

As we put away our decorations, notice the extra couple of pounds that we have put on during the holidays and try get back into a routine, we start to think about New Year’s resolutions. Many of us pledge to eat healthier, to go to the gym, to lose weight, and so on. Instead of thinking of these resolutions as a chance to fail, try to view the New Year as fresh start and a chance to get back into good habits and good health, for yourself and for your pets! Here are a few good New Year's healthy habits for your pet - To read more, Click Here.

December Tip: Have a Healthy Holiday!

The holiday season is upon us, and while this time of year brings many wonderful events, it can also be a tough time to maintain your commitment to a healthy lifestyle for yourselves and your pets. We all make excuses - everyone’s busy, it’s cold outside, it’s dark in the evening, company is coming, and so on. In reality, this is a time when it is extra-important to make the time and effort to get outside and get some exercise with your pets! To read more, Click Here.

November Tip: Healthy Treats for your Pet

We kicked off the holiday season with our Healthy Halloween Party on Halloween night. The night was dedicated to sharing tips for providing low calorie treats for cats and dogs, especially ones that can be found in local grocery stores. All the treats that were served were under 10 calories each, and many of them were both cat and dog friendly. The dogs who attended the party agreed that they were tasty, too!  But with any treats, moderation is the key. Please remember that treats should make up only five to 10 percent of your pet’s diet--the rest should come from a nutritionally complete pet food. To read more, Click Here.

October: Come to our Healthy Halloween Pet Party!

September Tip: How Often Should I Feed My Pet

Deciding how often to feed your cat or dog is very important. Lifestyle, breed, illness, and the number of pets and personalities in a household all play a part in deciding when and how often to feed. There are 3 main ways that our pets are fed: 1) free choice feeding, 2) food restricted feeding (meal feeding), or 3) time restricted meal feeding.

Free choice feeding is a method in which food is always available, so your pet has a choice of when and how much they will eat at a time. The amount of food provided is usually more than what they will normally consume in a day.  The advantage of free choice feeding it that is quick and easy. There are cats and dogs that prefer to graze all day long, and some of them regulate how much they eat without becoming obese.  However, the main disadvantage of free choice feeding is
- to read more, Click Here.

August Tip: Deciphering Pet Food Labels

Brightly colored bags and cans with tempting photos of food line the shelves at the local pet store. The labels show delicious-looking food, happy cats and dogs, and words pledging “ All Natural,” “Grain Free,” and “Human Grade” among a vast array of other marketing terms. But what do these words actually mean in the world of pet food? Not all items or wording that are put in labels have regulated definitions. Some words or descriptions are marketing tools with no regulated definitions. Let's look into some examples - to read more, Click Here.

June Tip: What You Need to Know When Choosing a Pet Food

When you are shopping for your cat's and dog's food, what do you look for? Does the brightly colored package and photos of chunks of meats and veggies appeal to you? Or is it the names of the food that sound good enough to be on a menu at restaurant? Do words like "holistic," "healthy," "natural," or "human grade quality ingredients" catch your eye? OR do you read the label and make decisions based on the nutritional information? With thousands of pet food products on the market, how do you make the best choice?

Choosing a pet food is one of the most important choices that we can make for our furry friends. Pet food labels can be very confusing. Understanding the label information can help you make informed decisions about which food to feed your pets. With the help of your veterinarian here at Animal Hospital of North Asheville, you can decide what type and amount of food your pet should eat based on age, life stage requirements, or any medical condition or disease that needs to be factored in. In a nutshell, you should look on the label for - to read more, Click Here.

May Tip: Prevent the loss of lean muscle mass while slowly reducing caloric intake

There is more and more information available that explains why some of our companion dogs and cats seem hungrier. Obesity has been shown to chemically slow down metabolism while at the same time increasing appetite. A hormone that is released by the stomach causes this increase in appetite. As our pets get heavier, more of these hormones are released, which then further compounds the weight gain problem. Your doctor can recommend some feeding strategies to help your pet feel more satisfied on less food, since it's hard to resist those sad hungry faces.

One of the keys to weight loss is to prevent the loss of lean muscle mass while slowly reducing caloric intake. Therefore, exercise is key to weight loss by increasing the rate of metabolism so the body can burn even more calories at rest. Remember that even the little things you do to increase activity in your pet can be helpful. Using puzzle toys at feeding times, tossing each piece of kibble instead of using a bowl, or doing “laps” around your house or up and down the stairs with the food bowl while your cat or dog follows are great ways to increase your pet’s exercise. During commercials on TV, play fetch or other games. Even 5 minutes a day of playtime is a benefit to your pet’s health. Visit the Indoor Pet Initiative at http://indoorpet.osu.edu or www.petfit.com for great ways to help get your pet moving.

Providing exercise can be complicated in pets that have medical or orthopedic problems, but once these problems are identified, your veterinarian can help. Many pets recovering from back or orthopedic surgery can benefit from exercise and rehabilitation programs as directed by their doctor. 

Pets that have been spayed or neutered actually need fewer calories due to the natural reduction in their rate of metabolism.However, the health benefits of spaying and neutering outweigh this change in metabolism. As always, it is best to consult your veterinarian at Animal Hospital of North Asheville for your pet’s specific needs and to determine the appropriate diet for the age and breed of your pet.

We hope this helps explain some of the chemical changes that occur in our pets and that weight gain is not as simple as your pet over-eating. One goal of the STEPS program is to provide you with the information needed to understand pet weight gain as well as pet weight loss so your pet has a healthier, happier life!

April Tip: Steppin' Out with S.T.E.P.S.

Click here to see the AHNA Team at Brother Wolf's 'Run for the Paws'

March Tip: Recording your pet's weight

Regularly weighing your cat or dog and recording their weight is a helpful way to keep you on track while you help them reachtheir healthy weight. Regular weigh-ins not only help you follow a pet’s weight during a diet, but also can alert a family to other medical issues if the cat or dog has unexplained weight gain or loss. There are several methods to weigh your pet.

Weighing your pet can be done free of charge at Animal Hospital of North Asheville any time we're open, and without an appointment. It is also a great way to socialize your pet and have a easy visit where the only thing that happens other than the weighing is a lot of attention and praise. Many pet stores have scales that can be used free of charge as well. Dogs are not the only ones that can be weighed at the hospital. We weigh cats on our baby scales in a quiet area.

If it is easier to weigh your pet at home, be sure to be consistent in the method used to weigh your pet and the scale used. If you do decide to weigh at home, please call us with each month’s weight so that we can record it in your pet’s record for your veterinarian to review. This enables your veterinarian to monitor the weight.  Here are some home weigh-in methods you can use - to read more, Click Here.

February Tip: Make a Daily Food & Exercise Log

A food and exercise log is a great way to take a look at how much food and exercise your pet gets in a day. Many times families many not realize how many extra calories a pet receives in a day.  Often overweight pets have gained weight from the snacks between the meals rather than the meals themselves.  Many times it is in the treats that various family members give without knowing what the other is giving. Be sure to write down every morsel your pet consumes. After filling out the daily food log, comparisons can be made as to how much a pet is eating to how much your pet should be eating. By discussing with your primary veterinarian you will be able to determine what is the correct amount and diet your pet should be eating.

Diet: Be sure to include to include the type of foods and the amount given. Include all snacks, treats, bones and tidbits given by all family members.

Exercise: Record all of your pet’s activity. Including playtime, walks, naps, petting, grooming, eating and begging.

Stop in and pick up your daily food log record sheet at the front desk.