Weight loss can be challenging for anybody: two legs or four legs. Pet obesity is a rising problem in America. Having an obese pet can lead to serious health issues such as: diabetes, heart disease and joint problems just to name a few. An obese or overweight pet can be less playful and energetic. Our pets do not understand that extra pounds can be harmful to them- it is our job as their owner to make sure they are able to live the longest and healthiest life possible.
Over half of the pet population is classified as overweight (53.9% of dogs and 58.9% of cats) according to a survey of veterinary clinics done by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in 2016.
Helping your furry friend shed a few pounds may be easier than you think. It is always recommended to speak with a veterinary professional about a weight loss plan. At Stone Ridge Animal Care, we look forward to creating a diet and exercise plan specifically designed for your pet.
Lowering calories is a good place to start after we determine your pet’s ideal weight. There are times that we recommend switching your pet’s food to a lower calorie, higher fiber option. There are also instances where we can keep them on the same food you’ve been using- just smaller portions. Losing weight isn’t fast or easy for pets, especially cats. All weight loss should be done slowly with weight monitoring along the way. Most dogs will have a 3-6-month weight loss plan and cats can take up to a year to reach their ideal weight.
Feeding the appropriate amount of food is the first step to helping your pet. The second step is exercise. Going for a walk, playing fetch or teaching your pet tricks are great ways to incorporate exercise into your pet’s day. We recommend at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise per day, this can be split up into two 15-minute sessions which can be helpful if your pet is extremely out of shape. Cats can be hard to exercise- laser pointers, toys with catnip and toys that move and make noise randomly can stimulate kitties to get moving.
Dogs and cats that are used to eating a certain way may take a few weeks to adjust. Begging, meowing and whining at the food bowl are common when changing your pet’s diet. Some helpful tricks to getting this behavior to subside are:
- Go for a walk or have play time when your pet is begging, the social interaction may take their mind off food.
- Feed small meals frequently- take their daily portion and split it into 4 small meals rather than 2 larger ones.
- Treats can be very high in empty calories and kill whatever progress you are making. We recommend using a kibble or two of your pet’s food as treats. Dogs also enjoy baby carrots, green beans or even ice cubes as replacement for fatty treats.
As a pet owner, we want our pets to be happy, healthy, and with us for as long as possible. Weight loss will help your pet have more energy and feel better. A committed and concerned family is the secret to achieving this goal. The staff at Stone Ridge Animal Care can help your pet achieve a healthy body weight and condition safely and successfully. Please call the clinic to set up a weight loss consultation at (812)867-7335.