Pets Can Pile on the Pounds Too!
Getting into shape for the New Year applies to our pets as well as to ourselves. It’s the time of year to shed those extra pounds and start pounding the pavements again and what better way to do it is there than walking the dog.
Obesity is fast becoming one of the biggest killers in pets leading to heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and osteoarthritis to name just a few examples, but the good news is that it is treatable. We can prevent these diseases with just a few sensible measures.
Why pets become overweight:
- Excessive calorie intake at mealtimes – always check how much food you should be feeding for the size of pet.
- Snacking – small amounts of animal treats are allowed as long as the portions of his/her main meals are reduced to take this into account
- Guilt – weight gain can be caused by owners feeding their pet more treats because of their own guilt e.g. if they are working long hours or haven’t spent much time with them.
- Lack of exercise – regular exercise every day is important for all pets
- Over feeding puppies – correct feeding during the growth phase is important to prevent obesity later in life.
If your pet is carrying a few extra pounds then a sensible approach to weight loss is called for. A decrease in calorie intake along with an increase in exercise is what’s required. Cutting out tidbits and snacks is an obvious start but we must also look at the type and amount of food you are feeding your pet at mealtimes. There are lower calorie or light diets on the market but for the pets with more weight to lose then prescription diets are the way to go. The best approach is to have your pet’s weight regularly monitored over the weight loss period at the veterinary practice and if the vet or nurse feels there is a lot to lose then they will advise you on the diet that is most suitable.
- Always weigh out your pet’s food
- Aim for your pet to lose 1-3% body weight per week
- Divide daily food intake into several meals
- Increase exercise
- Hide dried food round the house so that he/she has to look for it
- Take a photo before the diet starts so you can compare as they start to lose weight
If you think your pet may be overweight or if you would like any advice on your pet’s weight or diet please come and see us.
Nurse weight clinic appointments are FREE so don’t hesitate – just pick up the phone and call us or send us an email and we can contact you.
Every pet has a different routine and we can advise you on type and amount of food to feed, how to encourage your pet to exercise more and have lots of ideas to help and encourage the weight loss process.
We are here to help you to help them!