Obesity in Pets
Pet obesity is increasing every year. Knowing if your pet is overweight is the first step towards a happier and healthier life. 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats are considered overweight. That means that 50 million dogs and 56 million cats are above healthy weight. This is a startling statistic. What we want to discuss today is how to, first, prevent obesity and second, treat it.
Preventing obesity is the best option. Once a pet has put on the extra weight, it is much more difficult to get it off. So, choose to prevent it. The first this is to choose a well balanced food for their breed size and age, feeding them only the recommended amount.
Daily walks are a great way to keep your pet in good condition. Limit the treats they get daily or replace them with healthy alternatives such as, baby carrots, apple slices, watermelon or even broccoli. Eliminating the “junk food” treats will be a big step towards healthy pets.
Once you pet has been diagnosed as being overweight or obese, it is time to make some changes. Always consult your veterinarian. They may recommend a specific diet food, or they may just want to cut the amount of current food down. This is the point where eliminating all treats other than healthy treats is extremely important. If you have a multiple pet home where only one of your pets is overweight then it may be a bit more tricky to successfully get your pet to lose weight, that does not mean it is going to impossible. Separate during feeding times and whatever food was not eating then it gets picked up. Take your time and be patient with yourself and your pet. Do periodic weigh ins with your vet. They will help you to keep track of your progress. Finally, exercise needs to become a big part of your new routine. When you do go for walks as exercise it is recommended that you do a brisk walk when you start, when you are on your way back, you can allow for a more leisurely walk. Always start gradually with exercise, and always consult with your Veterinarian.
To sum all this up, when you get a pet make sure you have a good balanced food, limit/ use alternative treats, and play/exercise. Healthy pets are happier pets. If we all choose to work together we can change these statistics and reduce the amount of obese animals.
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UTAH VETERINARY HOSPITAL