Do you know your cat or dog’s body condition or what their ideal weight should be? Helping our companions maintain a healthy weight is more than just watching the number on the scale; it’s also about helping them live a long, healthy life. Learn how extra weight affects our pets’ lives and tips for helping them look and feel their best.
Factors Leading to Obesity in Pets
Some cat and dog breeds are more prone to becoming overweight; still others might have underlying medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism (or underactive thyroid), which can slow their metabolism and lead to weight gain.
Aside from genetics and health conditions, diet and lack of exercise are the leading cause of weight gain in cats and dogs.
- Overfeeding: Your veterinarian is an excellent resource for learning how much you should be feeding your pet and how often. It’s also a good idea to consult the feeding guidelines printed on the back of their formula to make sure they’re getting just the right amount of food.
- Treating Too Often: We love rewarding our pets, but how much is too much? Always check the feeding guidelines on the back of the package to see how many snacks your pet should have to maintain a healthy weight.
- Feeding Table Scraps: Regularly giving cats and dogs human food is a sneaky way to pack on the pounds. Your pet’s formula is designed to give them proper nutrition and energy, whereas the food we eat often has more calories and sodium.
- Lack of Exercise: Just like us, our pets need regular physical activity to feel and look their best. For dogs, that means going on a few walks and playing a game of fetch. Cats, on the other hand, get exercise during playtime on their own or with you. Physical activity helps to boost their metabolism and ensures that they burn excess calories.
Managing Their Weight Through Diet
For overweight and less active pets, there are weight-control formulas to help them achieve and maintain a healthy number on the scale. Often, these specially designed foods feature less fat, fewer calories and more fiber to help your pet feel full. Combined with exercise, a balanced diet can help your furry friend keep off the extra pounds and enjoy a healthy, active life.
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