Just like in humans, obesity in pets can be a serious health concern. It can put additional stress on their heart, lungs, and joints and increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Furthermore, it can reduce their life expectancy. Taking steps to keep your pet at a healthy weight can boost their health and quality of life. October 12 is National Pet Obesity Awareness day, and a great time to get started improving your pet’s well-being.
So what are some things you can do to reduce your dog or cat’s risk of becoming overweight or obese?
Pay attention to their diet. Overfeeding can happen quickly when family members don’t communicate, and no one realizes the dog was already fed. Self-feeders can also be problematic because they provide unlimited access to food. Talk with your veterinarian about the right type and amount of food for your dog and stick with it. Don’t give them table scraps, and make sure their water bowl is always full of fresh, clean water.
Skip the extra snacks. It’s fine to give your dog or cat a treat now and then as a reward, but resist the urge to always share what you’re having or letting them lick up the last bits from your plate. If you do give them a treat, make sure it’s something healthy like fresh vegetables or other low-calorie options.
Keep them moving. Engage your dog or cat in more physical activity during the day. Pick up a few new toys to get them excited, or pull out an old toy they may have forgotten about. You can use things from around the house too like laser pointers or flashlights that they can chase. Go for regular walks and start off at a brisk pace, then you can slow it down on the way back. This can be good for both of you! Changing the location of their food bowl so they have to go up or down stairs can help as well to get them moving more.
Make changes slowly. You don’t want to abruptly cut the amount of food your pet receives. Slowly give them less until you reach the target amount they should be consuming each day. It may also help to divide the food up between several smaller meals each day if you can. That way they’re not eating it all at once and the begging for more later. If you’re changing the brand or type of food they’re eating, it’s a good idea to take a few days to mix increasing amounts of the new food into the old to gradually transition to the new one.
If you’re headed out of town, make sure your pet is able to stick to their meal routine and get plenty of exercise by boarding them at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. They’ll receive the personalized attention and care they crave while safely socializing and playing with other animals and staff. Contact us today to schedule your pet’s next stay!