Did you know that obesity carries the same risks for pets as it does for people? Extra pounds can increase the odds of your animal companion developing several dangerous health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, liver and kidney trouble, and bone/joint issues. As your Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, I list some ways to keep your furry buddy in good shape below.
Portion control is a big part of the pet obesity epidemic. Even giving your pet just ten calories too much each day can cause them to gain a pound a year. Of course, the caloric density of your animal friend’s food will also affect the recommended serving sizes. Ask your veterinarian for specific advice.
Just as with people, activity levels also play a large role in determining pets’ weight. Playing is probably the best—not to mention cutest—way of getting your animal companion moving. With cats, you’ll want to provide lots of fun toys, as well as furniture that encourages Fluffy to jump and climb. Dogs will need daily walks as well.
One of the best ways to monitor your animal companions’s body condition is to weigh them regularly. If you are able to pick your pet up, this is pretty easy. Step on a scale and weigh yourself, and then pick up your furry pal and weigh yourself again. The difference between the two numbers is your pet’s weight.
It’s not always easy to resist our furry buddies when they’re angling for treats. Fluffy and Fido are both skilled at looking extra adorable on demand. (Actually, many pets have their humans completely wrapped around their paws.) However, if your feline pal is on her third breakfast, that cute meow could be a lie. If you absolutely can’t resist that pleading look, offer something small and preferably healthy.
Your veterinarian is going to be the ultimate authority on your pet’s health and body condition. Most animals should come in at least once a year. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your four-legged friend’s dietary care needs! It’s also worth pointing out that sudden weight gain or loss can be indicative of medical issues, and would also warrant a call to the clinic.
Please contact me, your Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, with any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or weight. I’m here to help!