August 27, 2012
Helping your pet to lose weight can sometimes be a challenging task, especially if you or your pet has bad eating or exercising habits. Over half of the pets in America are classified as overweight, and solving this dilemma can seem out of our reach sometimes.
But not addressing the issue is dangerous to pets, and more time consuming and costly to pet owners in the long run. Overweight pets have an increased incidence of fatigue, arthritis, torn ligaments, spinal disc problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and reduced liver function, just to name a few.
A great indicator of whether your pet is overweight is to feel their ribcage, although this does vary somewhat for each dog and cat breed. If you can feel your pets ribs that’s a good sign, but if the ribs are very pronounced that could mean that your pet is underweight. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs that means they are most likely overweight.
No matter what the problem, it’s much better to see a professional then to try diagnosing the problem yourself. Your local vet can help you come up with a new plan for helping your pet lose weight, and can also tell you, depending on the age and breed of your pet, a good target weight. It’s also a good idea to always consult your vet before you change your pet’s exercise routine.
There are a few good tips to get you started on helping your pet to slim up. One easy way to prevent your pet from gaining, or to help your pet lose weight is to switch to a healthy weight management food. Make sure that the food that you are buying has lots of healthy, natural ingredients in it, typically marketed as premium or organic pet food. Avoid foods with fillers, additives and preservatives. Healthy pet foods may be more expensive, but they provide your pet with the energy and nutrition that they need and deserve.
Another easy way to help your pet lose a few pounds is to cut back on treats, or eliminate them altogether. Although it is nice to reward your dog or cat with a treat from time to time, many treats can be detrimental to your pet’s health. You could also switch over to a healthier premium or organic pet treat, or a different non-food reward system altogether.
The most important thing for your pet when you’re trying to help them lose weight is daily exercise. If you have a dog, try to walk them at least three times a day, or hire a professional dogwalker to take over if you simply don’t have the time. Regular leashed walks at a fast pace, or off-leash play at the local dog park, will help your dog to burn off those extra calories and excess energy. The key thing is to set a routine to get daily dog exercise for your pooch.
If you have a cat, try to get them out of the house regularly if they are an indoor/outdoor cat. If they are indoor only cats, a cat toy, a simple piece of string, or a laser pointer should get them up and moving. Two to three times a day of active play for 5-10 minutes should give cats the exercise they need. If you don’t have time to do this, hiring a professional pet sitter may be a great option. A simpler way to deal with your pet’s weight problem is to think about it like it was your own. A pet gets healthy just like a human does. If you help your pet eat healthier foods, and ensure a good exercise routine your pet will be fit and in tip top shape in no time.