|Posted on August 11, 2017 at 9:25 AM|
When a pet is overweight, it is not a question of if it will develop health issues, but how many and how soon. Your veterinarian can assess your pet's body condition, and help you determine the best approach to shedding any unnecessary pounds. Pet obesity has steadily risen, and now affects over 50% of dogs and cats.
Reasons to Maintain a Healthy Weight.
• Excess pounds put more stress on joints and ligaments, and lead to arthritis.
• Obese dogs and cats are at a higher risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes.
• Obesity and a high-fat diet can trigger pancreatitis in pets.
• High blood pressure can result from obesity, and can lead to further health issues such as kidney and eye diseases.
• Overweight pets have shorter life-spans than pets maintaining at a healthy weight.
Weight Loss Strategies.
• Diet- Your vet can work with you to find the best food (including recommendations on prescription diets formulated for your pet) and feeding schedule (amount and frequency) to help your pet lose weight without feeling hungry.
• Exercise- Play fetch or take your dog on a walk. Even short walks to increase exercise are helpful. Play games with laser pointers and toys to engage your cat in fun exercise.
• Low calorie treats- Cutting back on the amount of treats your pet receives significantly reduces calorie intake. Consider using diet treats instead of traditional treats when you do need to give your pet a special treat.
• Feeding strategies- If your busy schedule makes your pet's diet difficult to manage, consider using feeders with timers to help your pet stick to a portion-controlled schedule. If you are home, incorporate food puzzles and other toys during feeding time to burn calories during feeding time.
Help your pets live a long, happy, and healthy life by keeping them at a healthy weight. Work with your veterinarian to determine if your dog or cat is overweight, and develop a plan for weight loss that is tailored to your pet and lifestyle.