As National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, celebrated on October 12, draws near, it aims to bring attention to the prevalent issue of pet obesity. Pet obesity can result in severe health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and a shortened lifespan for our furry companions. As loving pet owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure our furry friends live healthy and happy lives.
To help maintain your pet’s healthy weight, follow these six tips.
What the Research Says
In 2015, the pet-loving community received a startling revelation that sent shockwaves through their ranks. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) unveiled its findings from the National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey, and the numbers were eye-opening: 58% of cats and 53% of dogs in the United States were categorized as overweight.
APOP’s survey took into account various factors, including:
- Any prior medical conditions.
- The pet’s level of physical activity.
- Whether the pet was underweight, overweight, or at an ideal weight.
- The pet’s sex, age, breed, and the number of other pets in the household.
Tip 1 – Consult Your Vet
Consult your veterinarian before embarking on any weight management plan for your pet. We can:
- Recommend an ideal weight
- Assess your pet’s overall health
- Create a tailored weight management program
Weight loss in pets should be gradual and controlled. Rapid weight loss can lead to health complications. Follow your vet’s guidance and track your pet’s progress to ensure they lose weight safely.
Tip 2 – Portion Meals
Overfeeding is a common cause of pet obesity. Follow the recommended portion sizes on your pet’s food packaging and avoid constantly refilling their bowl. Be mindful of treats and table scraps, as these can quickly add excess calories.
Tip 3 – Choose the Right Food
Selecting high-quality, balanced pet food is essential. Look for options that match your pet’s age, breed, and activity level.
Tip 4 – Exercise Regularly
Just like humans, pets need exercise to stay fit. Regular walks, playtime, and interactive toys can keep them active and prevent weight gain. Cats enjoy toys that stimulate their natural hunting instincts, while dogs benefit from fetch or agility training games.
Tip 5 – Monitor Treats
While treats can be a fun way to reward your pet, they can also lead to excessive calorie intake. Choose low-calorie treats or use small portions of their regular food as treats during training.
Tip 6 – Create a Consistent Routine
Establishing a routine for feeding and exercise can help regulate your pet’s weight. Try to feed your pet simultaneously each day and create a structured exercise schedule. Consistency makes it easier to manage their calorie intake and energy expenditure.
Together, in partnership with veterinary clinics and dedicated pet owners, we can work towards enhancing the health and well-being of our cherished four-legged family members. Let’s take action to ensure that while the leaves may change color with the seasons, our pets can enjoy a long and healthy life.
Schedule Your Next Exam with our Vets
If you’re grappling with pet obesity or aiming to prevent it proactively, it’s crucial to take action. Schedule your next appointment with Valley Animal Hospital, where our dedicated team of professionals can provide expert guidance and support to help your furry companion achieve and maintain a healthy weight.