Overweight and obese pets are steadily becoming more common, and are a major concern to veterinarians. Overweight pets struggle in the Townsville heat, and are at greater risk of heart disease, respiratory problems, skin disease and arthritis. Not only are many of these conditions costly to treat and manage, but they lower the life expectancy of your pet and will make them miserable for the time they have left.
Can I tell if my pet is the right weight?
Yes! There are a number of different ways to help monitor and maintain your pet’s ideal weight. Prevention of obesity starts with monitoring – you can keep an eye on your pet’s weight and see if they are getting heavier over time
My pet is overweight – what can I do?
You’re not the first owner with an overweight or obese pet, and it is possible to return your pet to healthy weight. Your TVC vet can help you develop a Weight Loss Plan, which can outline a new diet and exercise regime to help get your pet back to their best self.
The Goals of a Weight Loss Plan
It is important to remember that a healthy weight for your pet is not just about the number seen on the scale. This may be as simple as helping an old arthritic dog drop a few extra kilos to keep it walking comfortably.
The Weight Loss plan is about changing unhealthy diets and behaviors in your pet, and any success should be celebrated regardless of the number on the scales.
A Weight Loss Plan for Your Pet
Creating a Weight Loss Plan is supposed to help your pet achieve a steady rate of weight loss, while keeping them comfortable and happy. It’s also supposed to help you understand what you can do to help your pet, and the different tools you can use to promote and monitor weight loss.
It may take a few tries to find a diet plan that results in the desired 2% of body weight loss per week – at times, your pet may even gain some weight. Regular weigh-ins and vet checks can be used during this time to keep an eye on your pet’s overall weight. These checks can also help your veterinarian to adjust your pet’s diet, so that constant weight loss can be maintained.
Creating and tailoring the ideal weight loss plan for your pet can take a few weeks – don’t be discouraged! By taking a step in the right direction, you’re helping you pet in the long term. Eventually, the plan will start to work and you will begin to see results.
Can I still give my pet treats?
Yes, of course! Treats can form an important part of your pet’s lifestyle, acting as positive feedback in training and making them feel like part of the family. Much like a human diet, treats are okay in moderation! However, when treats are given, they need to be included in the dietary plan – treats still contain calories!
Treats are not to be nutritionally balanced, and should make up no more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake.
Don’t worry – you don’t need to take up running, there are plenty of other ways to help exercise your pets!
For dogs, fetching and catching games are a good way to get them moving. You can also start walking them, slowing increasing the distance to help build fitness – as an added advantage, this can be good for your health as well!
Cats can be a bit more contrary! If they want to walk on a lead, that is a good place to start. Otherwise, hunting and stalking games with laser pointers, feathers and other toys can help to increase their activity levels.