A new year means a fresh start to setting and achieving our goals. This year, how about setting some achievable goals that you and your Labrador can reach together?!
Everyone talks about getting into shape this time of year following the gluttonous holidays, but wouldn’t that goal be so much easier with your four-legged friend by your side? Shedding the pounds together can make fitness fun, and can have positive health benefits for you and your Lab.
Did you know that over 50% of the nations dogs are overweight? Weight loss can reduce your Labrador’s risk of joint disease and other weight related problems and can actually lead to a longer lifespan. Exercise also alleviates boredom and therefore may help with some behavioral issues.
Having a hard time deciding where to start? First, consider consulting your vet to make sure that your Labrador is healthy enough for the exercise you have planned. You can consider jogging, swimming, walking, Frisbee/ tennis ball, or even just training new ticks (consider using veggies for treats!). Remember to start slow and work your way up as you don’t want to over-do it.
Another great goal to set is eating right. Once again, this doesn’t just apply to humans. Consider talking to your vet about your Lab’s diet. You may be surprised what they have to say. Some prescription diets may allow your dog to eat more, while still reaching his/ her weight loss goals faster. You may also consider adding supplements that will fit your Labby’s specific needs or just decide to start using more healthy treats. Carrots, green beans, or apple slices anyone?
Finally and most importantly, we should all commit to giving our heartworm prevention monthly. Keep in mind that especially in the south, heartworms are transmitted year round, and also that these preventives don’t just prevent heartworms but also intestinal worms, which can transmit to humans. Consider setting an email or phone reminder to keep yourself up to date.
I hope that you all have a safe and healthy 2015! Happy New Year everyone!
What are some of your Goals??
Dr. Erin Hernandez Horner, DVM graduated from the University of Georgia in 2004 and then went on to obtain her DVM in 2008. She is currently an associate veterinarian at Brookhaven Animal Hospital [line-sep]