Obesity in pets is a common problem and, just like us humans, they need a balanced diet and regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. Finding this balance can be tricky, but we’re here to give you some tips to ensure that they have the best quality of life.
Proper Diet and Nutrition
Feeding your pet the right amount of food helps them maintain a healthy weight, which is one of the best ways to prevent obesity-related illnesses and extend their lifespan. To ensure you don’t overfeed your pet, measure out their quality food and any necessary supplements prescribed by your doctor at Sierra Veterinary Hospital at set times of the day to control their intake. Limit extra treats throughout the day to what is already accounted for in their daily calorie allowance and ask family and friends to avoid sneaking treats and food from dinner plates to your pet, as it can be harmful for their digestion. Don’t put your pet on a crash diet or starve them, as that could prevent them from getting essential nutrients.
Regular walks, hiking, playing fetch, and swimming are all great ways to keep your pet physically active and fit. Exercise also improves muscle tone, increases metabolism, and helps reduce boredom. It is important to also remember their mental stimulation. Providing toys to play with, hiding treats, building obstacle courses, and practicing new tricks all help to keep your pet active, engaged, and can shed unwanted weight.
An annual wellness exam provides the best opportunity for our doctors and staff at Sierra Veterinary Hospital to perform a variety of health screenings that can lead to the early detection of diseases. They can advise you on how much your pet should weigh and if they should start a new diet or exercise regimen.
Risks of Obesity
In general, obesity can reduce your pet’s quality of life and life expectancy. It is harder to play and move around and surgical procedures or check-ups can become more difficult. Specifically, obese pets are at a higher risk of diabetes, which can usually be reversed with weight loss once the accumulated fat responsible for failing to regulate glucose is no longer present. Additionally, obesity in pets is one of the leading causes of arthritis, as the excess weight can put unnecessary strain on the joints – particularly in older pets.
To help maintain a healthy weight for your pet, speak to our doctors and staff at Sierra Veterinary Hospital. We can advise the best course of action and provide support during any weight loss journey or exercise regimen.