Pet obesity has become an epidemic. The Association for Pet Obesity Preventio n (APOP) estimates that 54 percent of dogs and cats in America are overweight or obese. In addition, studies have shown that obese pets do not live as long as pet who maintain healthy weights. There are three main components to prevent pet obesity.
Weight Loss for Pets
- Diet and Nutrition A high quality diet is the most important part in keeping healthy pets. Sadly, many pet owners may be feeding their pets a particular brand of pet food that could be causing obesity. There are so many different pet foods to choose from. Reading labels can quickly narrow the field down. Foods should always be chosen based on ingredients. Many healthy-looking dog food brands with amazing advertising campaigns don’t have very great ingredients. Portions should also be carefully measured for overweight dogs. To the pet parent’s surprise, the label may also be resulting in the feeding of higher proportions than needed. Ask your pet nutritionist or veterinarian how much your pet should be consuming each day to ensure a healthy weight.
- Know Your Pet’s Caloric Needs Pets, like people, have daily caloric needs. By learning how many calories your pet needs each day, you can prevent it from becoming overweight. Pet health can be better maintained by feeding animals the correct amount of food. You may not know this, but relying on the instructions on your pet food package will only serve to add pounds to your pet. These guidelines are typically more than your pet needs. Over-feeding your pet is in the best interest of the pet food manufacturers; the more you feed your pet, the more food you buy. On average, a cat needs between 180 and 200 calories per day, ten-pound dogs need between 200 and 275 calories, 20-pound dogs need between 325 and 400 calories, and 50-pound dogs need between 700 and 900 calories per day. Once your pet is an adult, take its ideal weight and divide that number by 2.2. Take your result and multiply it by 30. Add 70 to that result and you’ll have the total number of calories that your dog needs per day.
- Go exercising Exercise is important in preventing pet obesity. Even a small walk each day can help an overweight dog. Some dogs will need more than a short walk. Many dogs enjoy jogging and hiking with their owners. Dog parks are a great resource for pet owners who like to let their dogs off of the leash. Designing an exercise program for an overweight cat can be a bit of a challenge. Cats do not necessarily want to go outside for walks on a leash. Some people incorporate a daily routine before feeding where they lead their cat around the house for a few laps. An overweight cat can also play with a range of toys in an effort to lose weight. Some type of chaser toy, for example, could be used to help your cat in losing weight.
- Regularly Scheduled Veterinary Exams Ultimately, the key to keeping healthy pets is scheduling regular appointments with one’s veterinarian. The veterinarian will have great suggestions for healthy pet foods. In addition, they can advise on proper portions for a dog’s ideal weight. They may even have some exercise tips for kitties. They can answer questions about potential health risks with obese pets. In addition, routine exams often include tests or annual screenings. Sometimes, obesity is caused by a medical condition. It can help to rule out any potential diseases or illness related causes before implementing a new diet and exercise plan.
Preventing pet obesity is all about being a proactive pet owner. Becoming more informed about nutrition choices is often the first and biggest step. Healthy pets are so much happier when they are at an appropriate weight. Their whole bodies feel better. Pet owners may be pleasantly surprised at how great they feel after a few weeks of their dog’s new exercise program. Finally, scheduling regular veterinary exams is a great way to keep one’s pet healthy and happy.
Amber Johnson, Animal Behaviorist
Miss Amber Johnson has many years of experience with pets and is a licensed pet nutrition and behavior specialist. She currently collaborates with PetPremium where she counsels clients in pet behavior and nutrition. The statements made in this article are the personal opinions of Miss Amber Johnson and based on independent experiences and could be different from the opinions of PetPremium Pet health Insurance or any other pet health insurance provider.