Obesity in pets can lead to a variety of health problems including diabetes mellitus, joint problems and a decreased life span. Recent estimates in the United States show a rising number of overweight dogs and cats each year.
Generally, if your pet is at an ideal weight, you should be able to easily feel their ribs with minimal fat covering, and their waist should be easily noted when viewed from above.
If you are concerned that your pet is overweight, the first step is scheduling an exam with your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues that might be causing the weight gain.
Once a medical issue is ruled out, your veterinarian can help you come up with an individualized plan to address your pet’s needs.
How to Help Your Pet Lose Extra Weight:
- Regular weigh-ins: you want to ensure your pet loses weight at a healthy pace and keeps on track to reach their goal weight. Feel free to bring your pet into our office for a weight check any time that we are open.
- Use an actual measuring cup to scoop your pet’s food.
- Feed at specific meal times. Leaving food out for “free grazing” encourages snacking and can make it harder to track your pet’s intake.
- Eliminate treats while trying to reduce weight, or talk to your vet about healthy treat alternatives. Many owners give small treats and snacks throughout the day without realizing how many extra calories are being added to the pet’s diet.
- Consider interactive toys, especially for indoor cats, who can be more challenging for increasing exercise.
Helping your pet reach an ideal weight can take some time and dedication. Fortunately, the long-term benefits are well worth the effort.