How to Help Keep Your Pet at A Healthy Weight
Our pets are not exempt from the obesity epidemic that is hitting our country. In fact, recent studies have found that more than 50 percent of dogs and almost 60 percent of cats in the United States are considered obese. These numbers are staggering, especially since a healthy weight for pets is an important component to a healthy life, no matter what stage of life your pet is at.
Some factors that contribute to weight gain are easier to control than others. For example, pets that are older or are of certain breeds are more likely to gain weight due to less activity or even health concerns. However, in most cases, lifestyle choices and feeding habits are the culprits.
Here are some ways that pet owners can help ensure a healthy weight for their dogs and cats:
1.Work with your veterinarian.
At Animal Hospital of Woodstock, our veterinarians and staff are here to help your pet live a healthy life – and that includes a foundation of nutrition and exercise. Whether you’re bringing a pet home for the first time or getting your pet’s weight back on track after you’ve noticed some extra weight, working with your veterinarian can ensure that your pet is losing weight at a healthy pace and that you have the tips and support you need.
Exercise provides a host of health benefits for pets – not only does it help maintain a healthy weight, exercise can also make pets less susceptible to heart diseases and diabetes. It’s also a great way for you and your pet to bond and for him or her to burn off some energy! It’s recommended that cats spend about 10-20 minutes a day exercising while dogs range closer to 20-30 minutes.
For many pet owners we see, this tends to be the toughest challenge. Humans often have an “our eyes are bigger than our stomachs” mindset when it comes to food, and that oftentimes get translated to our pets. Consult your veterinarian regarding how much food, and at what frequency, your pet should be consuming each day, and make sure to measure it instead of just eyeballing the portion! We also recommend forgoing self-feeding tactics for more measured, controllable portions.
4.Monitor the results.
Just like many goals, monitoring success allows you to track progress along the way. Determine a weekly or bi-weekly cadence for weighing your pet to see how you’re doing. If you don’t have a scale at home, you are always welcome to stop by our facility and borrow the scale at the front desk.
5.Watch the treats.
A little treat here or there is harmless and enjoyed by most dogs and cats alike. But just like little pieces of candy do for humans, treats can add up throughout the day for pets. You can ask our staff about lower-calorie treat options, and try to limit the quantity your pet receives, especially if you are on a weight loss journey with your pet.
The staff at the Animal Hospital of Woodstock is here to work with you on a plan that can not only help your shed the weight, but also keep it off – and even work with new pet owners on establishing healthy eating habits and portion sizes from the start! Let us know how we can help your pet achieve – and stay at – a healthy weight for them.