Is your dog or cat overweight? If so, you’re not alone. Nearly half of all pets are overweight or obese. Even a few extra pounds can cause problems like diabetes and heart disease, so it’s important to address the issue before it starts affecting your four-legged companion’s health. Here are some tips on how to feed an overweight pet.
Practise portion control. Be precise when measuring portions. Even a slight mismeasurement can cause your pet to consume many additional calories. If you’re having trouble determining the correct serving size, talk to your veterinarian. They can help you calculate your pet’s daily dietary requirements based on their size, breed and target weight. Set a schedule. It’s better to feed your pet several small portions throughout the day than to give them one large meal. If they eat more frequent meals, it can help burn calories. Invest in a puzzle feeder. Puzzle feeders are mentally and physically stimulating and can help stop your pet from overeating. Choose the right food. Selecting the right food is one of the most important steps you can take when managing your pet’s weight. Stick to a diet that’s low in carbohydrates and high in protein. Be aware that kibble tends to have more fats, carbohydrates and preservatives than canned or fresh food. Allow a transition period. If you need to introduce a new diet, be sure to make the transition over a few weeks so that your pet can adjust. Start by mixing a little bit of their new food into their old food. You can increase the ratio every few days. Limit how many treats give them. Most treats are high in fats and carbohydrates and low in nutritional value. Avoid giving them too many of these empty calories. Monitor their progress. Weigh your pet every week to help keep track of their progress and make adjustments as needed. Be patient. Losing weight isn’t easy for pets. It takes time and patience. Also, losing too much too fast can be unhealthy. Aim to have them lose approximately one to two per cent of their body weight each week. Make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your vet can be a great ally when it comes to managing your pet’s diet. They can also provide a thorough physical exam to rule out other health conditions that could be causing your pet to gain weight. Pet nutrition in Toronto Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital carries nutritious, vet-approved brands of pet food that combine the right amounts of protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. You can order your pet food and other supplies anytime using our online store. We also offer nutritional counselling to help keep your pets healthy. Contact us today to learn more or to book an appointment.