With the New Year right in the rearview, everyone is working to keep their resolutions to be kinder, better, healthier in 2020. Have you considered making your pet part of your New Year’s resolutions? You might want to, especially if your furry friend is carrying a few extra pounds.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Obesity can affect every aspect of your pet’s health, increasing the likelihood of developing chronic conditions like diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, breathing difficulties, joint injuries, and cancer.
What contributes to a pet becoming obese? The reasons vary. Sometimes it’s as simple as a lack of exercise and too much food. Age can play a role, too. As pets get older, their energy levels drop, and that often coincides with a tendency to exercise less. And pets who’ve been spayed or neutered gain weight faster than pets who haven’t been sterilized.
Regardless of the reasons behind your pet’s weight problem, there are several steps you can take to help your fluffy friend get back into his or her skinny collar, including:
- Measuring your pet’s food to make sure you’re not overfeeding
- Placing food in toys that require interaction with your dog or cat to receive a food reward
- Hiding kibble around the house so that your cat must hunt for food, or put it high on a kitty tree
- Spreading meals out throughout the day (note: make sure the total amount fed for the day is the correct amount)
- Playing with your cat or dog using love and attention, not treats
- Getting health conditions under control. Some illnesses, like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, can cause weight gain in pets. It’s important for you to work closely with your veterinarian to manage these medical issues.
Sometimes exercise and portion control don’t quite do the trick. In that case, it’s probably time to go with a special diet. Our veterinary team recommends Royal Canin Satiety Support Weight Management which is a veterinary-exclusive dry dog food formulated to help overweight adult dogs lose weight and help reduce their begging behavior.