One way to support your dog or cat’s quality of life is to help keep them at a healthy weight. As with humans, a variety of health risks are associated with obesity. In the United States, an estimated 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats are overweight or obese.
There are simple feeding and treating steps pet owners can follow as they work to keep their pet’s weight in check.
Schedule Regular Visits to the Veterinarian
Pets should visit a veterinarian regularly to ensure their overall well-being. Preventive care visits can help pet owners determine if their dog or cat is overweight, and veterinarians can help provide diet recommendations and strategies for weight loss, if needed.
Avoid Feeding Table Scraps
Think twice before slipping pets some extra potato chips, fat trimmings or other foods from the dinner plate. Many common foods that humans enjoy are high in calories and fat and can ultimately lead to pet weight gain. In addition, some foods and ingredients can be harmful to cats and dogs or cause digestive upset.
Feed Pets a Complete and Balanced Diet
It’s crucial that dog and cats enjoy a complete and balanced diet, meaning that each serving of food provides the more than 40 nutrients that pets need, in the proper amounts, for the life stage of the animal. Treats should never be a substitute for a meal, and it is recommended that no more than 10 percent of a pet’s daily calories come from treats.
Follow Feeding Guidelines on Pet Food and Treat Packaging
A pet’s calorie requirements will vary based on factors such as age, size, lifestyle, and breed. As pet owners determine how to much to feed their dog or cat, they should begin by referring to the feeding guidelines on food and treat packaging. This can help pet owners determine how much food to measure out at mealtime and how many treats they can safely provide throughout the day. A veterinarian can also confirm the amount of food that is best for that particular pet.
Find Fun Activities
Spending quality time with pets while keeping them active will help dogs and cats maintain a healthy weight. Not only does exercise contribute to weight loss, but it also helps build and maintain strong muscles and healthy joints, and keeps your pet mentally stimulated.
Looking For More Information?
Check out our helpful resource on keeping your pet at a healthy weight.