CHARLOTTE – According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53% of adult dogs and 55% of cats in the US are obese or overweight. With over half of our fur babies being overweight and October 12 having been National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, we wanted to share some of the top advice we give pet parents to help them with fur baby weight loss and management.
1) Food is the most important tool in managing weight with pets, just like with us humans. Know how much you are currently feeding your pet and then how much you should be based on their activity level. There are many online tools you can find that will help you calculate the exact caloric intake your pet needs based on their age, breed, activity level, and other factors. If you try this and still feel that you are unsure of how much to feed your pet, consult your veterinarian.
2) Remember that treats count. Just like we humans struggle with counting all of those tasty snacks we eat all day, the same goes for our fur babies. You may be sabotaging their diet with too many high calorie snacks. Consider replacing the cheese or peanut butter snacks with healthier options to help keep the calories down while still “rewarding” your pet with something different than their regular food.
3) Exercise is the other main ingredient to a healthier life for your pets. While food is paramount to the weight loss plan, it is not complete without exercise. The easiest activity to add to your daily routine for your dog is walking. This also helps stimulate their mind and gives them opportunities to smell their surroundings. For cats and other pets, find activities like feather wands or toys that will encourage them to move around and burn calories. The amount of exercise your pet needs depends on their breed and general health. If you’re already exercising, try lengthening your activity by 10-20% to help boost weight loss.
We also love to encourage healthy lifestyle changes for fur babies that can help their pet parents be happier and healthy as well. Think of things that your pet loves and that you would also enjoy doing with them. This can be a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your already wonderful bond with your fur baby.
Passionate Paws Animal Hospital is a proud member of the Union County Chamber of Commerce.