Between puppy dog eyes and kitten purrs, it’s hard to ignore a begging pet, but throwing a bone to Fido or a treat to Fluffy can often do more harm than good. For our furry family members, extra snacks add up quickly and contribute to obesity. You might be thinking, why is my pet overweight?
According to the Association for Pet Obesity, 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats are overweight or obese1.
And while chubby pets can be adorable, the extra pounds can lead to serious health issues.
Here’s why your pet might be overweight
Petcurean conducted a survey on the topic and found that U.S. pet owners may be guilty of giving too much love in the form of food or treats to their four-legged family members:
- 52% of pet owners sneak treats to their pets2
- Nearly three-quarters of pet owners have given their pet human food2
- One quarter of pet owners give their pet human food a few times a week2
Obesity is a significant risk factor for many life-threatening diseases that affect dogs and cats. For example, diabetes and obesity in cats are often related, and in dogs, even a slight increase in weight has been shown to decrease their lifespan by about two years3.
So, how can you help your pet live a long, healthy life?
Know their ideal weight, and keep an eye on it
It is important to know what the ideal weight for your pet is by checking with your vet and making sure there are no underlying health conditions. For weekly follow-ups at home, you can simply weigh your pet using a bathroom scale. Just weigh yourself, then pick up your pet and weigh again. Subtract the difference to determine your pet’s weight.
Watch food portions
If your pet only needs to lose a small amount of weight, you may decide to continue feeding the same food and just reduce the amount. If more weight needs to be lost, a specific weight-loss recipe can help to keep your pet feeling satisfied while reducing calories. Talk to your vet though before you embark on a weight-loss program as losing too much weight too quickly can lead to serious health issues for your pet.
Give hugs instead of treats
While those loving eyes may be begging for a treat, try to avoid the temptation of giving your pet snacks and table scraps as those extra calories can add up quickly. As an alternative, opt for fruits and veggies that are safe for them, such as blueberries, bananas or carrots, or treats that are made with nutritious ingredients. Better yet, shower them with kisses, cuddles and play to show your love in a healthy and low-calorie way.
When it comes to weight management, diet and exercise go
hand-in-hand paw-in-paw. Simply adding in a couple of daily walks and play sessions can have a big impact on your pet’s weight and overall health – plus you benefit from the exercise and vitamin D too, so everyone wins!
Body Score Chart
Find out what a healthy pet should look and feel like by using our Body Score Charts for dogs and cats. Use the indicators listed to determine where your pet rates and make plans to work towards ‘Perfect’!
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