Keeping slim is as important in animals as it is in humans. Many pets are overweight, and often their owners are in denial about it, meaning that these pets continue on in a state that is detrimental to their overall wellbeing.
Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis are just a few of the many health risks for portly pets and, like humans, those extra kilos can takes years off the lives of our fur friends.
Often obesity is an issue with older dogs (over seven years of age) as their bodies slow down but their diet does not compensate for it. Overweight pets that are still young need to be taken to a Vet so owners can be informed about portion control and the best diet to get their pet’s weight under control again.
Here’s a chart to determine whether your pet is packing some extra pounds.
Another way to check your pet is to stand over them, looking down. There should be an inward curve to their waist. If they are straight up and down without any tapering between abdomen and hips then they are too heavy. If they are oval-shaped or egg-shaped this means they are grossly obese.
Run your fingertips over your pet’s sides. If you can see and feel their ribs this means that they are underweight. If you can feel their ribs but not see them then their weight is ideal. If you are unable to see nor feel their ribs this means you have a portly pet!
Slimming down is not complicated. The number of calories going in must be lesser than the amount of calories being burned. Start by cutting your pets food intake by roughly 20 percent and increase their exercise levels slowly.
Take a ball or your dog’s favourite toy to the park to play fetch or increase your walking speed. Even adding in another walk per day will make a world of difference.
Cats should be encouraged to play with toys or even a ball of yarn. A laser pointer will drive your kitty wild trying to catch it, burning up those calories faster. Playing with your cat during sunrise and sunset is most effective as these are the most active hours for cats.
Tip: Make sure you keep the process gradual as rapid weight loss is not healthy.
Please note that weight gain can also be a sign of a more serious problem. If you are concerned about your pet please visit your Veterinarian immediately.
PET GUARDIANS also has a large range of weight management diets available for cats and dogs. If you need further information please contact us.