Tips for Preventing Obesity in Pets
Just because your dog or cat seems to have insatiable hunger does not mean you should let your pet eat everything in sight! Overindulging your pet with more than the daily recommended amount of food inevitably leads to weight gain. Just like humans, pets gain weight when they eat too much, too frequently, or too unhealthily.
While you might think it’s nice to give your dog or cat extra food, the subsequent weight gain leaves your pet susceptible to several health problems. Additionally, it can be challenging for a pet to lose its extra pounds once it’s overweight.
Following are five tips on preventing weight gain in dogs and cats:
Understand Your Pet’s Optimal Weight
If you don’t know how much your pet is supposed to weigh, how will you keep your pet in the best possible weight range? At your next vet appointment, ask for an assessment of your pet’s weight. If your dog or cat is above the optimal number of pounds, we will provide you with tips for helping you get your pet down to his or her ideal size.
Choose the Right Food
Some types and brands of pet food are lower in fat and calories than others. We do not recommend depriving your pet of the correct amount of food each day. But switching your dog or cat to a healthier type of food promotes weight loss without compromising your pet’s hunger satisfaction.
Resist Giving Excessive Treats
Just like many humans, pets like cookies and other indulgent treats. But eating too many is unhealthy and causes dogs and cats to pack on the pounds. A treat every so often is fine, but several a day is probably too many. Use moderation and refrain from offering too many goodies.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Most dogs get excited at the opportunity to get out of the house and exercise! A brisk walk, a run in the park, or a “playdate” with another dog are perfect opportunities to give your dog the exercise and mental stimulation he or she needs to stay in good health. If you have an indoor cat, outdoor exercise is not as simple. Cats also require activity, so be sure to provide yours with a climbing structure or other chances to move and play.
Keep an Eye on Your Pet’s Body
Every pet is unique, and each has an optimal weight. If you notice that your cat or dog has been eating more than usual, exercising less, and seems to be growing chubbier, it’s time to have your pet weighed. It’s much easier to help your pet lose one or two pounds now than ten or eleven pounds down the road.
Some pet breeds are more prone to weight gain than others. Therefore, if you own a dog or cat that is more susceptible to obesity, it’s important to monitor food intake and to make sure your pet gets plenty of physical activity. Helping your pet stay slim and healthy is easier than you might think. Tustin Legacy Animal Hospital offers early screening for health issues due to obesity, and we also provide nutritional counseling. Contact us and schedule an appointment for more information and guidance on maintaining your pet’s optimal weight.