5 Tips for Pet Weight Control
Published on: January 4, 2018
According to petobesityprevention.org, “An estimated 59% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.” These are alarming numbers! Extra weight on your animal companion can increase their risk of diabetes, bone and joint damage, heart disease and increased blood pressure, breathing issues, decreased immune function and an increased risk of cancer. While we totally believe in spoiling your pets, our primary focus is to improve the lives of animal companions to create long-lasting relationships with their owners. Take a look at these 5 tips to help you maintain a healthy pet weight for your cat or dog!
1. Food for Thought
It’s an obvious one, but if your pet is struggling with weight, you should start with a look at his or her food. Just like people, every cat and dog has different dietary needs based on their age, size, and activity level. For instance, many people assume that the highest protein food must be the best. However, if your companion isn’t utilizing that protein with regular exercise, then those are just extra calories they’re consuming. Or you might find that your current food is high in carbohydrates. If you’re not sure which food is right for your pet, talk to a team member at your local Wag N’ Wash.
It’s important to remember that weight loss is a gradual process. You should NOT drastically reduce your pet’s food or withhold food. Talk to your regular vet, and they can help you come up with a safe feeding plan that will have your companion back to its trim self again!
2. Get Moving
Another obvious one, but regular exercise is a sure way to help your pet lose excess weight. Try to plan a time each day that you can take your pet for a little walk. Start with short distances, and head back if your companion gets tired. This should be an enjoyable activity for both of you, so don’t push too hard. Again, pet weight loss is a gradual process. You can also play games like fetch to help get your pet moving. Or walk them up and down some steps a couple of times. The key here is consistency, so keep it up!
3. The Tasty Treat Threat
When it comes to treats, both cats and dogs can be excellent beggars! It’s hard to resist the big, pleading eyes sometimes. But remember that treats are just that, a treat. They should be given sparingly, and if they’re particularly high-calorie treats you should reduce the amount of regular food you give them. If your companion is really struggling with weight control, consider treat alternatives. Try fresh carrots, green beans or blueberries instead of biscuits. Or use play time as a reward for good behavior instead of a typical treat.
4. Pet Weight Tools
You may need to add some extra tools to your pet weight loss kit. Consider a slow feeder for pets that like to chow down too quickly. Pets that eat fast may not feel satisfied right away. This could mean trying to find more food to eat around the house or begging for treats. You can also try a treat-dispensing toy to put food in. The interaction will let your pet feel like their playing a game and being rewarded. They may not even realize how slow they’re eating. You should also use a measuring cup for portion control. When you can see exactly how much your companion is eating each day, it’s easier to adjust the amount needed.
5. Veterinary Help
If you plan to make any drastic changes to your companion’s regular diet or routine, talk to your vet first. While many weight problems have simple solutions like consistent diet and exercise, some don’t. Pet weight gain can also be caused by parasites, hypothyroidism and prescription drugs. If this is the case for your cat or dog, then your vet can help you find the appropriate solution.
Remember that pet weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no quick-fix methods to make your companion lose weight. All you have to do is come up with a healthy diet and exercise plan and stick to it! And of course, feel free to talk to the team at your local Wag N’ Wash for advice.