With the New Year upon us, everyone is starting to compile a list of resolutions to be kinder, better, healthier in 2020. Have you considered making your pet part of your New Year’s resolutions? You might want to, especially if your furry friend is carrying a few extra pounds.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Read on for more about how weight impacts your pet’s quality of life.
Obesity can affect every aspect of your pet’s health, increasing the likelihood of developing chronic conditions like diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, breathing difficulties, joint injuries, and cancer. Read on for more about the pet obesity epidemic and what you can do to help your pet slim down.
What contributes to a pet becoming obese? The reasons vary. Sometimes it’s as simple as a lack of exercise and too much food. Age can play a role, too. As pets get older, their energy levels drop, and that often coincides with a tendency to exercise less. And pets who’ve been spayed or neutered gain weight faster than pets who haven’t been sterilized.
Regardless of the reasons behind your pet’s weight problem, there are several steps you can take to help your fluffy friend get back into his or her skinny collar, including:
- Measuring your pet’s food to make sure you’re not overfeeding
- Placing food in toys that require interaction with your dog or cat to receive a food reward
- Trying interval walking/jogging with your dog instead of just a simple walk. You’ll both burn more calories, and it makes the walk more interesting for your pet.
- Hiding kibble around the house so that your cat must hunt for food, or put it high on a kitty tree
- Spreading meals out throughout the day (note: make sure the total amount fed for the day is the correct amount)
- Playing with your cat or dog using love and attention, not treats
- Getting health conditions under control. Some illnesses, like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, can cause weight gain in pets. It’s important for you to work closely with your veterinarian to manage these medical issues.
If the above tricks simply aren’t working, you might want to consider a special diet for your pet. At Sunriver Veterinary Clinic, we recommend and stock in our hospital Hill’s Prescription Diet: Metabolic Canine Dry. Hill’s combines a unique fiber blend with powerful antioxidants to work naturally with your dog’s metabolism and help them lose weight, all while supporting holistic health.
Questions about how to help your pet slim down in the New Year? Call us at 541-593-8128 or stop in anytime!