With the start of January around the corner, people often use the New Year as a time to begin their weight loss journey. It’s not too late to start your pet’s weight loss journey as well. When you look at your pet from above, do you see an “hourglass” shape? Can you easily feel their ribs? When viewed from the side, can you see an abdominal tuck? If you answered no to any of these questions, your pet may be overweight. More than 50% of pets are classified as overweight or obese and this statistic has been increasing each year. Excess weight can lead to additional health issues that may reduce your pet’s life expectancy. Some of these issues include: diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, liver disease, heart disease and arthritis. Outlined below are some steps you can take to help your pet live a happier and healthier life.
Be aware of the ingredients in your pet’s treats. It is good practice to read the ingredients and nutritional information on your pet’s food as you would on your own. We carry many treats that are specific to pets with pre-existing conditions such as allergies, gastrointestinal issues and urinary issues. We also have satiety and metabolic treats to aid with weight loss. Many dogs are also very happy to munch on some healthy carrots, green beans or apples that you may already have in your fridge at home. Make sure to steer clear of grapes and raisins, these can be toxic to your pet. Also, don’t forget about the much loved liver treats that are a terrific option for both cats and dogs. If you find that your pet has had a treat heavy day, decrease the amount of food you are feeding them for dinner so you do not exceed their daily requirements.
Some pets may benefit from a food bowl that has elevated grooves within it. This will cause them to slow down as they eat because they will have to work for their food. Feeders will not only help your pet slow down but, they may also minimize the possible occurrence of gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting or bloat, by reducing excess air intake.
If your pet is overweight, they will likely overeat if a constant supply of food is available to them throughout the day. It is also difficult to monitor how much your pet is actually consuming if you are not measuring it out. If you have an adult pet, especially an adult dog, feeding multiple meals a day is ideal. If you are unsure about how much you should be feeding your pet, please consult with your veterinarian.
There are many different diets that will aid with weight loss. One of the most frequently recommended diets at our clinic is the Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic. It is available in a wet and dry formula and is formulated for weight management. This diet works mainly by regulating the animal’s appetite by making them feel full with less food due to high amounts of fiber. It also contains the amino acids lysine and L-carnitine which help metabolize fat for energy while maintaining lean muscle.
- Increase the intensity and duration of your daily walk
- Initiate daily play by using their favourite toys or getting them a new toy
- Move their food bowl upstairs or downstairs so they have to walk to get their meal
The rate at which your pet loses weight is also important. You want to make sure that your pet is losing weight at a healthy pace, not too much too quickly. Regular weight checks will confirm they are on the right track. If your pet is starting their weight loss journey, feel free to come by the clinic anytime to check their weight!