Happy New Year! Have you and your pet been sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? Read Healthy Pets & People with Dr. Patrick: New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet: Focus on Diet, then take my next recommendation to optimize the quality of life of your canine or feline companion in 2011.
Part 2- Commit to Daily Exercise
A common scenario I see in my veterinary practice is the phenomena of people choosing pets resembling themselves physically. This observation, for better of worse, typically manifests in many pets’ Body Condition Score (BCS, as discussed on Focus on Diet) and level of physical activity correlating to that of their owner.
The PPET (People Pets Exercising Together) Study, which was a partnership between Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, showed that people who regularly exercised with their dog were better able to stick with their workout plan than dog-less participants. A celebrated example of the PPET Study’s findings is My Big Fat Greek Wedding actress, Nia Vardalos, who’s dog provided motivation to help her get fit (see Nia Vardalos’ Dog Manny Promotes Her Weight Loss).
Set attainable and sustainable activity goals for yourself and your pet. Commit to doing physical activity on a daily basis. If you have plateaued or gotten stagnant with your current fitness plan, break through by doing something fresh. Take your dog for a longer walk around your neighborhood. Choose a more challenging hiking trail. Don’t be afraid to get your feet (or paws) wet and go for a swim.
My dog, Cardiff, and I exercise every day, including New Year’s day morning, when we hiked into the hills of Palms Springs (that’s Bob Hope’s house in the background, pictured above) to elevate our heart rate and mental state.
Pet exercise routines are not exclusive to dogs. If you have a corpulent kitty, create an indoor activity program by using a laser pointer or feather toy intrigue your cat into burning more calories. Elevate the food bowl to a height that requires jumping or climbing to achieve a meal. Divide your cat’s regular feeding into many individual kibble portions, then hide the pieces around the house or toss them to a distance that motivates movement.
Before you start on an exercise program with your cat or dog, arrange for a veterinary exam to ensure your pet is healthy enough for physical activity.
Part Three on Healthy Pets & People with Dr. Patrick: New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet: Schedule Regular Veterinary Examinations to be posted on Out Impact soon!
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Copyright of this article (2011) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.
Dr. Mahaney moved to Los Angeles to join the TLC Pet Medical Center team in early 2006. His practice philosophy is to improve the quality of life for both pets and their owner’s by establishing client relationships with open lines of communication and providing optimum care within his capabilities.
Dr. Mahaney completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society basic course in 2006 and is now a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA). He is especially interested in chronic pain management and uses a variety of modalities, including acupuncture, to improve the comfort level of his patients. Dr. Mahaney strongly believes that many canine and feline diseases can be better managed by incorporating both Western and Eastern treatments. In 2008, Dr. Mahaney incorporated his own small business, California Pet Acupuncture & Wellness (CPAW). CPAW offers in-home acupuncture and musculoskeletal therapy, pet appropriate environment consultation, veterinary supervised exercise sessions, and euthanasia.
Having lived in Philadelphia, DC, and Seattle, Dr. Mahaney feels as though Los Angeles’ mix of city, nature, and culture make it the ideal place to establish both personal and professional roots. Dr. Mahaney resides in West Hollywood with his Welsh Terrier, Cardiff. He and Cardiff enjoy canyon hiking, urban trekking, running on the beach. Dr. Mahaney also enjoys working out, playing tennis, doing yoga, going to museums, cosmetically improving his home, propagating plants, and spending quality time with friends and family.
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