02 Nov Pet Diabetes Prevention
November is Pet Diabetes Prevention Month. Yes, your pet can get diabetes! Just like humans, dogs and cats can develop Type II diabetes if their exercise and nutrition are insufficient. Our pets can’t make healthy choices on their own, so we have to help them. Here are some important steps you can take to reduce your pet’s chances of developing diabetes.
A great way to get your pet to eat healthier is to experiment with different treats. These items are likely part of your grocery list already, so no there’s need to spend money on expensive products. Eggs, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and fish are chock full of nutrients and are better choices for both you and your pet to stay happy and healthy. There are of course several vegetables and fruits that are toxic to pets, so make sure to check against this list of items that may cause harm to your pet. Any eggs, fish, or lean meat you give your pet should be fully cooked, deboned, and unseasoned. Steamed, boiled, and baked are the best ways to cook your pet’s treats as they don’t require adding oil or salt, both of which can cause issues for your pet. While not every cat may be interested in a small piece of apple or a green bean, they may go crazy for a bit of egg white on top of their morning bowl of food. Find out what your pet likes and swap those doggie biscuits from the store with a healthier, more nutritious snack. Your pet will feel extra spoiled when you share some of your food with them!
Of course, exercise is the best way to stay heart healthy and keep excess weight off. If your pup is a bit of a couch potato, try adding an extra 5 minutes to your walks or 10 minutes of play time to your daily routine! While cats don’t (usually) go on walks, they can greatly benefit from extra playtime. Cats can be a bit trickier to train, but it’s possible! Take the time to teach your cat to fetch or run through an obstacle course. They might take a little encouraging but your cat will be grateful for the extra time you spend with them. The more stubborn kitties might not catch on, but a wand toy with feathers and strings is usually an easy way to get them to engage in play.
Last but not least, re-evaluate your relationship with your pet’s food scoop! It’s tempting to just dump a heaping scoopful of food into your pet’s bowl, but just a few extra pieces of kibble can add up and cause your pet to pack on the pounds. Every pet owner should read their pet’s food label and follow the feeding instructions based on their pet’s current weight. Measure (or even better, weigh) your pet’s food to ensure they are getting the same amount of food at each meal. Of course, every pet has different needs. Some dog breeds metabolize food faster and some pets do more daily exercise than others. If you are unsure whether you are feeding your pet the right amount of food, talk to your veterinarian.
Type II diabetes is preventable in both humans and pets. With nutritious food, appropriate portions, and ample exercise, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing what you can to keep your pet – and yourself – at a lower risk of developing diabetes.