Kingstonist’s Wizard of Paws: Springtime weight loss for pets

Getting active to shed that winter weight doesn’t only apply to humans – pets need to get exercise and eat right, too! Photo by Matt Benson.


Spring time is finally here! I know what you’re thinking: warm weather, green grass, barbecues, and getting that beach body. But while you’re working on yourself, let’s not forget about our pets. Let’s face it, wintertime isn’t good for dieting. And while you can totally control your own workout plan, your pets need your help.

The excuse of winter weight on your pets won’t fly with your veterinarian anymore at this time of year. So if you want to help Felix or Fido shed a few pounds and be healthier pets follow these simple tips:


Measure the food – Whether you’re using a cup or a scale, it will help your pet eat a proper amount. No more handfuls, no more scoops, and no more just filling the bowl. If you need help figuring out how many calories your pet should eat, be sure to ask your veterinary team.


No more junk food – While we all like to enjoy some goodies during this time of year (heck, year round), our pets certainly don’t need table food, or extra treats ,either – Not only because it helps them keep some weight off, but keeps the risk low for getting upset stomach.


Make time for exercise and for play – Be sure to get out for those walks every day! If you don’t have time for a long walk, get outside and throw a ball or Frisbee for your dog. For your cat, try tossing catnip scented mice around for them to hunt. You can also use interactive toys that get them dancing and moving. If the weather is bad, and you can’t get outside, try making mealtime also into playtime or exercise. Use a food ball that they need to push around to earn their mealtime. Any exercise is good.


Remember, your pet is counting on you to help them live fullest happiest and healthiest life. And following these tips can also help encourage you to be more interactive with your pet. And while your pet won’t be trying on swimsuits, they’ll be happy to be looking good in their collar or harness!



Dr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with two cats, two dogs, two horses, and a rabbit. Dr. Llera also contributes writing to various other animal and veterinary related blogs. You can find more of his writing at, or see what else he is up to on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Disclaimer: All columns are personally written and my opinion, and may not necessarily reflect those of current or former employers.

If there’s something you’ve often wondered or questions you have about regarding pets, let us know by email at [email protected].

*Please note that specific medical questions about your pet cannot be addressed and you should speak with your personal veterinarian.

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