Pet obesity affects many pets throughout the United States. In fact, it’s estimated that over 93 million pets in the country are overweight. However, it’s the number one preventable disease in dogs and cats. Here are some tips for pet obesity prevention.
The Risks of Pet Obesity
Obesity can cause several health problems in pets which is why pet obesity prevention is important. Pet obesity leads to decreased quality of life and life span. It also damages your pet’s organs and increases the risk of cancer, osteoarthritis and urinary bladder stones.
Pet Obesity Prevention Plan
Before beginning a pet obesity prevention plan, consult with your trusted veterinarian. They’ll check for obesity-related diseases such as hypothyroidism, insulinoma and hyperadrenocorticism. Increased weight is the result of food and exercise with food contributing about 90 percent and exercise about ten percent. This means that the food your pet eats is the most important factor in their weight and overall health.
The first step in your pet obesity prevention plan is to slowly cut back the amount of food they eat. Reduce your pet’s food by about ⅓. If you notice your pet losing weight within two weeks continue feeding them that amount of food. However, if there aren’t any changes, reduce the amount by another quarter cup. Try to hold back from giving them a lot of treats during this time.
The other important half of your pet obesity prevention plan is to make sure they get enough exercise. There are a lot of options for getting your pet to move. Take them outside to play fetch, go on walks and runs, or take them to the park to play with other dogs. The American Kennel Club provides helpful tips for how much exercise your dog needs while PetMd has a guide for cats. No matter what activity you choose to do, the important thing is to make sure they’re moving.
October 9 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. This serves as a reminder that helping keep your pet at a healthy weight is an important part of being a responsible pet owner. At Regal Animal Hospital, we’re dedicated to wellness care and helping you maintain the health and longevity of your pet. Contact us with any questions and concerns you have. We’re here for you and your furry family member!