Love Your Pet: helping your pets have a healthy 2016

Getting in shape is a popular New Year’s Resolution- and people often include their pets in that goal! Dr. Cristina Miliaresis, owner and veterinarian Surf Paws Animal Hospital, gives us tips to start this exercise regime on the right foot… Or paw.

Firstly, she says, “Before starting any new fitness routine, double check with your physician and veterinarian. At Surf Paws Animal Hospital, the three things we look at are physical assessment, nutrition/diet, and an exercise plan.”

Dr. Milaresis continues, “It is important to know how much you and your pet can currently do. Cats should get at least five minutes of active play twice a day. Encourage this with toys and climbing trees. For dogs, it depends on your starting point. If this is all new to you, begin with five minutes of walking in the early morning or afternoon (as our temperatures are quite hot).”

Twice a day is ideal for you and your pet; increase your pace and the distance by five minutes a week. Have a goal whether that is a future total distance or a specific time, and work toward it. “Don’t give up!” she encourages. “Once your dog is used to going out they will encourage you as well.”

If you have elderly pets or your cats like to get out, grab a stroller that is enclosed to make it easy to get around.

Pay attention to diet to complement this health routine. “Measure the food each time you feed. We all love to give our pets treats and snacks, but these calories add up fast. Swap out some of these for things such as carrots and green beans which most dogs enjoy,” suggests Dr. Milaresis.

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