Just as with people, it is detrimental to our pets health if they are kept overweight/obese over a period of time. Of course, the more overweight our pets become the less inclined they are to be active and therefore, become even heavier.
Overweight pets should have a thorough examination so that we can identify any associated health problems that could be causing or contributing to their disease. There are many strategies that can be used to shed the extra kilo’s. Just remember – our pets only eat what we provide them with! (with the exception of outdoor cats that may be sneaking the occasional snack from a neighbour!!). Therefore it is our responsibility as their care-taker to ensure they are fed a healthy diet in amounts that do not exceed their daily calorie needs.
Feed a good quality food at a controlled amount per day. Weighing the food out in grams is the most accurate way to ensure you are not overfeeding. Do keep in mind that any pre-packaged dog foods have feeding “guidelines” that should be used as a guide only. They should be adjusted accordingly based on your dogs weight loss. Do not feed table scraps and minimise treats. If treats are given, reduce the food by an appropriate amount for that day. Healthier treats that can be given include raw carrot and apple pieces. Feed your pet twice daily if possible. Some cats will not adapt to this regime and will want to nibble throughout the day. “Grazers” are okay so long as they do not exceed their daily ration over the 24-hour period!
Start a regular exercise program. This should start slowly and increase in intensity over time. Take your pets general health into consideration when implementing any exercise program. Engage in play if you have a feline friend and take your dog for regular walks.
Weigh your pet regularly so that their weight can be monitored. Weight gains can then be addressed rapidly and weight losses are motivating.
If these strategies do not seem to be working then come in to speak to us and we can provide further guidance. We may even suggest prescription weight loss diets. Remember that FHVH also provides free of charge weight loss consults with our nursing team who have been trained to help your pet to achieve their healthy target weight. Call us to make an appointment if required.