Whether it’s lack of exercise or overfeeding, sometimes our pets seem to add a few extra kilos on around the stomach. Although a little bit of weight gain isn’t a huge problem, it can lead to pet obesity which itself brings a number of health issues. These health problems can include diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, and an overall decreased life expectancy of more than 2 years. How can you tell if your pet is overweight and what can you do?
Is my pet obese?
There are a number of ways to tell if your pet may be overweight, such as scientific measurements like the body condition score – although there are much simpler ways. Using your eyes and hands is the easiest way to assess the weight of your pet. Feel around your pet’s ribs, you should be able to feel each individual rib with a small layer of fat over them. If they are hard to find your pet is overweight. To accompany this, look at your pet from above and you should be able to see a waist behind their rib cage which will indicate that they are in a healthy weight range.
Talk to your vet
After checking your pet to see if they have put on a little too much weight, you will have a rough understanding of how healthy they are. If you believe their weight to be an issue, talking to your vet is always a great option as they are able to help you better understand whether or not your pet is healthy and what you can do to help them out. Vets can not only just give you tips and nutritional information to lose some weight, they can also rule out other potential causes that may be causing the weight gain through blood and urine tests.
Cutting back on the treats is most likely the first step any owner will take when it comes to helping their pet lose the unwanted kilos. However, the main issue may be what you’re feeding them for their main meals. Switching to a diet consisting of more meat and nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and veggies, or a diet of raw pet food that is high in protein will be beneficial for your pet.
Feeding your pet the right foods is only the first step, timing their eating and portioning their meals will help with their weight management. Don’t allow them to eat whatever they want, simply start by reducing the amount of food they normally have by only a small bit.
Exercise, exercise, exercise
Exercising your pet, especially dogs is a major benefit to their health. Dogs will require a lot more activity than cats, which is why taking your pup for a short walk will not cut it. They require long walks, engagement with other people and dogs, and something that also allows them to think such as fetch. Cats, on the other hand, will need some toys in and around the home that can get them moving when it’s time to play.
If you do think your pet is becoming a little bit tubby, acting sooner rather than later will help immensely when it comes to losing weight. Diet and exercise are best ways to lose a few kilos, however, working with a vet will allow you to gain a better understanding about the causes behind your pets weight gain and what specifically you will need to do to get them back to a healthy weight.