Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a chubby furry friend to cuddle up with? There’s more to love then, right?
Although the best way to my heart is through my stomach, feeding your pet is not the only way to give them some lovin’. Having an overweight pet can shave approximately 2.5 years off his or her life. Many obesity-related risk factors are life changing not only for your pet, but also for you and your wallet. Some of these risks include osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, cruciate ligament disease and many forms of cancer.

Where should you start? Portion control is key. You should be measuring the total amount of food your dog or cat is offered and feed them based on their ideal weight. Don’t forget to take into consideration the number of treats (and table scraps – I’m guilty too!) they receive.

There are many commercial diets available and finding the right one may be overwhelming. If your dog or cat is not losing weight their current diet, prescription diets designed for weight loss are available.

Now for exercise – ughhh! I get it. I am not about to run most days during a Wisconsin winter or a hot, humid stretch in summer, so why would I expect your dog to? Some suggestions to avoid extremely cold or hot weather include indoor activities like playing fetch, having your dog chase a ball up and down the stairs, creating an indoor agility course and playing scavenging games with treats. Then, on the more comfortable days, get outside, schedule a play date, or hire a dog walker.

Now, for your lazy cat. Felines love toys that are lightweight and easy for them to toss. They also enjoy climbing, so invest in a climbing tree or arrange furniture so they can perch, window watch, and explore multiple levels. After unpacking groceries, try leaving a brown paper bag out and tempt your cat to lunge inside. You might also consider keeping their food and water dishes and litter boxes on a separate level of the house, forcing them to do stairs and move about.

Weight loss will be best achieved by feeding a balanced diet, practicing portion control, and exercising your pet. Your veterinarian should chart your pet’s weight to help evaluate weight loss progress. Physical examination and bloodwork should be considered to help diagnose obesity-related diseases.

Courtesy – Dr. TJ