Helping your pet maintain a healthy weight

Just like humans, dogs and cats can put on extra weight. Whether it’s due to overeating, not enough exercise or both, being overweight isn’t good for your pet. Here’s what you should know. 

Related health problems

The following health concerns are just a few that are associated with overweight pets:

 

  • Diabetes. Like humans, extra body fat can cause type 2 diabetes in your pet.

 

  • Respiratory problems. Excess weight can make it hard for your pet to take deep breaths, which may lead to coughing or choking.

 

  • Shortened lifespan. Researchers have found that animals that are a healthy weight for their size tend to live up to 2.5 years longer than their overweight counterparts.

 

How to tell if your cat or dog is overweight

While your veterinarian is the only one that can tell for sure if your pet is overweight, there are a few telltale signs they should lose weight. When you run your hands down your cat or dog’s side, you should feel their ribs and spine through their fur. If you can’t feel the bones or if you have to press firmly to feel them, there’s a strong chance your pet needs to lose some weight.

 

Weight loss tips

There are two things you can do to help your pet lose weight:

 

Decrease the amount of food they eat

Chances are, you’re feeding your pet too much. This is especially true if they’ve become accustomed to snacking on treats or table scraps. Ask your veterinarian what your dog or cat’s caloric intake should be, and don’t go over the recommended amount of food a day.

 

Consider dividing your pet’s daily food allowance into three or four smaller meals throughout the day.

 

Increase the amount of exercise they get

Exercising even just 15 minutes a day can go a long way to helping a sedentary pet lose weight. Make it a point to take your dog for a walk every day and play games that get your pooch running.

 

If your cat needs to lose some weight, consider equipping your home with a cat tree, shelving unit or anything your pet can climb and explore. You can also encourage your cat to get moving with toys like laser pointers and those that mimic escaping prey.

 

Consult your veterinarian

Before putting your pet on any sort of weight loss regime, talk to the professionals at your local veterinary clinic. They’ll help you create a plan to return your pet to its ideal weight. Call Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital in Toronto today to make an appointment or to find out more about our services.

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