Pet Obesity: How to Keep Your Pet Healthy

It is commonly known that obesity among Americans is a growing epidemic, but not as many people realize that pet obesity is also a significant concern in our country. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 59 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs are overweight or obese, and those numbers continue to increase each year. Obesity is just as dangerous in animals as it is in humans, so it is essential that you evaluate the dietary and exercise habits of your own pet and work with your pet’s veterinarian to determine if adjustments should be made.

Helping Your Dog Stay Healthy

If your dog is overweight, he is at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and cancer. The best way to help your pup lose weight is to speak with a veterinarian to determine if reducing your dog’s daily caloric intake is a safe choice. If your dog’s ideal weight is 50 pounds, than he should be eating 750 calories a day. However, if your dog’s ideal weight is only 10 pounds, he only needs 210 calories daily. Just be sure to help your dog transition into this new diet over the span of about a week. You can try adding omega-3 fatty acids, salmon juice, or ketchup to his food to make it more palatable.  

Exercise is another critical element of weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. Take your dog for a vigorous walk each day and, if possible, work up to a jog. Keep your furry friend moving at a consistent pace and discourage sniffing and exploring until you head back home. With a bit of purposeful effort and the guidance from your vet, you can help your dog shed pounds and enjoy a better quality of life.

Keeping Your Cat in Shape

Just like with dogs, obese cats face a higher risk of serious conditions like type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and more. Adjusting your cat’s calories might be the easier component of weight loss; it’s the exercise portion that will require your creativity! Since you can’t exactly take your cat for a brisk walk, try playing games that get your cat moving more than normal. Move her food bowl to a different place each day and encourage her to chase flashlights and feather toys. It also helps to make sure your feline has plenty of water and affection, as some cats replace those two things with food when needed.

When in doubt, seek advice from your local veterinarian. The Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa, Florida offers a host of pet-centered services that range from dental care and acupuncture to weight loss support,  so you can turn to the team at Affordable Pet to help your dog or cat reach important weight loss goals. Call (813) 991-9898 to make an appointment now.