Tips to keep your Pet Healthy and Lean
Do you enjoy giving your cat or dog a special treat to eat? It isn't necessarily the healthiest thing to be doing.
Pets, like humans, can have weight problems. It's becoming a major problem with more obese companion animals than ever before. Obesity is one of the most widespread illnesses that veterinarians see, with half of the companion dogs and 44% of cats being overweight.
This is a concerning trend. Although we may think an overweight pet is charming, even a small increase in body weight can create serious health concerns for your pet, ranging from diabetes to cardiorespiratory difficulties such as difficulty breathing while sleeping and an increased risk of heatstroke.
Obesity in pets is defined as carrying 15% to 20% more weight than their normal body weight. Obesity is linked to an increased risk of osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer.
Everyone wants their pets to live as long as possible. So, here are a few suggestions for keeping your dog or cat in good tip-top shape.
Keep them occupied.
Many dogs don't get enough exercise because of bad weather or behavioral issues like nervousness when meeting other dogs or people. On the other hand, indoor cats can have a level of body fat at least 5% higher than outdoor cats and are significantly more prone to obesity.
Exercise is essential for both maintaining healthy body weight and losing weight. Make an effort to exercise your dog at least once a day, if not more. Make sure the length and type of activity are suitable for their age and ability, and gradually increase any exercise.
Scentwork or trick training, which can be done in your home, is always fun for dogs. There are also a variety of cat toys available to assist your indoor feline companion in burning calories while playing.
Spread feeding, which involves scattering your dog's food on the ground after making sure it's clean and safe, and puzzle feeders, which encourage your dog to work for food and treats, can make mealtimes more interesting.
Hydrotherapy, which entails teaching your dog to swim or walk in a pool or on a water treadmill, can offer your dog some mild, non-weight-bearing exercise. This is especially true for senior canines or those who have recently recovered from an accident.
Cats, too, can be trained to walk on a leash. However, if your feline companion refuses to comply – or if you don't feel like braving the elements with your dog - you may keep the exercise levels up by playing indoor or garden games.
Alternatively, check your refrigerator. Many dogs enjoy carrot or cucumber as a training treat, especially when sliced up. Cats adore tuna and chicken, both high in protein but low in calories.
Don't forget to treat your pet in other ways as well — exercise, play, and simply spending time with them will benefit both the animal and the person.
All of the suggestions necessitate some work. However, keeping your pet's body slim and healthy will help them live longer. And who among us doesn't desire to spend more time with their cherished pets? As a result, it's critical to understand what constitutes a healthy body weight and form for your cat or dog and the elements that may influence it. Trust your veterinarian and other professionals to make it easier for them to have potentially uncomfortable conversations with you about how to assist best your pet lose weight.
We adore our pets and endeavor to provide the finest possible care for them, including routine veterinarian treatment, environmental enrichment, and nutrition. We all know how much our pets enjoy snacks and treat, and using food rewards in moderation may help with training, fun, and strengthening our human-animal ties. Unfortunately, showing affection to our cats and dogs through food is all too easy, and if we're not careful, this practice can have a harmful impact on their health and well-being.
Weight loss isn't about deprivation or hunger; it's about estimating how much food your pet needs to keep healthy while exercising. Feeding recommendations on food bags are only suggestions, as each pet has unique nutritional requirements. Treats are enjoyable and sometimes useful, but they are not nutritionally balanced and should not account for more than 10% of your pet's daily food intake.
Avoid high-calorie snacks
Because high-fat food and treats contain many calories in little amounts, it's simple to overfeed your pet accidentally. And fatty "human" food, such as leftovers, can gain weight and an increased risk of pancreatitis - which can be made worse if poisonous items, such as onions and some artificial sweeteners are consumed.
However, just because you're watching your pet's weight doesn't mean you can't spoil them. Visit your local pet store to look for low-calorie, healthful choices. If your pet's weight is far too high – or perhaps nearing obese proportions – a trip to the vet for a comprehensive health check and body condition assessment may be ideal to start their weight-loss journey. They'll also give you a target bodyweight and a weight-loss timeline.
Keep an eye out for other dangers.
Sometimes it's simply a matter of genetics. A genetic mutation in some Labrador retrievers, for example, predisposes them to increased "foodie" behavior and weight gain. And because neutered pets have lower daily calorie requirements, if their diet isn't adjusted correctly, they may gain unwittingly.
Keep an eye on their eating.
Some pets, regardless of age, like their food so much that they become obese. Alternatively, "middle-age spread" can occur in pets, just like in people, when they age and gradually slow down.
In any case, they may need to alter their diet to maintain a healthy weight. Use the feeding guidelines on food packaging or online calorie calculators as a beginning point for how much to give your pet as a starting point for weight loss.
Every day, try to keep a food journal. Also, remember to use a scale to precisely weigh out your pet's food. Scoops are often imprecise, making overfeeding more likely.
All pets require weight control, correct nutrition, and exercise. Although your strategy will change based on whether you have a dog or a cat, it is critical to be aware of what they eat and how they stay active.