Maintaining a healthy weight in our pets is critical for their health. However, over 60% of cats and 56% of dogs are overweight according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Obesity has been scientifically linked to shortened life expectancy for dogs and cats of all sizes.
Why are our pets overweight? The number one reason is because we love them so much! It is so tempting to show our affection by offering more food, more treats and our own food from the table. Unfortunately, the lifespan of overweight dogs was up to 2 1/2 years shorter on average than the lifespan of dogs with a healthy body weight. (https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/190301n.aspx ) Busy lives with hectic jobs and extreme climates can also limit the amount of time pet owners can spend playing with their pets and exercising outdoors, making the problem worse.
If your pet needs to lose weight, give us a call! Our veterinarians can work with you to determine an ideal weight for your pet and then can calculate exactly how much food, treats and “other” snacks they should get based on calorie requirements. We won’t cut out all treats either! We are able to include treats in your pet’s diet so you can enjoy the bond that provides.
Here are a few other tips for maintaining a healthy weight in your pets:
- Get outside as much as possible. Go for a walk or run and be active. This will benefit you and your pet.
- If your pet is older or painful, schedule a visit to discuss pain medications and joint supplements to make your pet more comfortable and allow them to be more active without discomfort.
- Skip the table scraps. Food from the table has a lot of calories and when added onto their daily meals, can cause significant weight gain.
- Calculate calorie requirements rather than reading food labels. The food labels are often for pets that are not spayed/ neutered and very active. Feeding an indoor, neutered cat these amounts can make weight loss difficult. Check out https://www.petnutritionalliance.org/ for helpful calculators.
- Schedule an exam with one of our veterinarians. If you’re struggling to achieve weight loss in your pets, let’s talk. Your pet could have a metabolic condition such as hypothyroidism that may make weight loss more difficult. We also can prescribe diets specifically formulated for weight loss that are not available to you in a pet store.