Just like people, pets must also watch their weight. And since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, what steps can pet owners take to prevent pet obesity?
At Nor Cal Vet , we handle all types of weight issues. As a result, we have found many successful ways to help maintain or reach your pet’s ideal weight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, fifty-four percent of dogs and cats are overweight, which means this topic is one that every pet owner should become familiar with.
If your pet’s weight is not maintained properly, he or she can acquire one or more of the following serious medical issues:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Respiratory issues and disease
- Shortened lifespan (up to 2.5 years)
- High blood pressure
Since much of a pet’s weight typically rests upon the pet owner’s shoulders, there are several things you can do that do not take a lot of extra effort, but will pay off in great dividends.
At Nor Cal Vet , her are our best practices:
Assess – first assess whether your pet is overweight. This can be done by checking your pet’s ribs. If you can see them profusely, your pet is too thin. If you cannot see them at all, your pet is overweight.
Watch – keep an eye on what your pet eats throughout the day, including every treat you give him or her. Reduce these treats to once or twice a day, and make sure to offer healthier alternatives. Reducing overall food intake by 25% can be helpful, as can giving your pet smaller meal-sizes more frequently throughout the day.
Select – pet foods high in protein are always better for your pet than foods high in fat. And make sure to offer foods high in fiber, which are also vital to your pet’s overall health and weight stabilization.
Stop – one of the biggest culprits of pet obesity is constant feeding of foods throughout the day, whether that food is leftovers, scraps or treats. Calories can add up just as quickly in pets as they do in people.
Offer – healthier treats are always better for a pet and can satisfy him or her just as much as less healthy treats. This is one place where a replacement treat works better than eliminating the treat all together.
These steps are all small, but can have big advantages.
In addition to these steps, make sure your pet receives some type of exercise each day. At Nor Cal Vet , we encourage pets to be taken for daily walks and to make sure they are involved in other types of activities, like playing catch or with a toy.
Call our Bay Area vet office today — (650) 488-7363 or at (415) 413-7363, where we can help identify your pet’s ideal weight or help your pet maintain his or her weight. By doing this, your pet will be happier and healthier.