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The Obese Pet | CanadaVet

Obese animals are susceptible to a number of health issues, including bone and joint pain and heart problems. Therefore, it is important for you to be able to recognize the signs of obesity and to be able to get your pet back into shape so it can live a long and healthy life.

A fluffy white dog looks at the camera while it sits on a set of scales

How to Tell if Your Pet is Obese

Often, pet owners mistakenly believe it is okay for their pet to be a little overweight, but it is not. To tell if your pet needs to go on a diet, rub your hand along the side of your pet and under its fur. If you cannot feel your pets ribs easily, it most likely means your pet needs to lose weight. Before putting your pet on a diet, however, you should consult your veterinarian. There are medical problems, such as Cushing’s disease, that can cause a pet to become overweight. A trip to your vet is useful to make sure your pet is not suffering from a medical issue and you can also talk to your vet about what your pet’s ideal weight range is.

A fluffy black and white cat is held by a female veterinarian in a white lab coat

Putting Your Pet on a Diet

The first step in helping your pet lose unwanted pounds is to put your cat or dog on a diet. After finding out your pet’s ideal weight, you should look on the back of the dog or cat food you feed your pet. Here you can usually find serving information according to the animal’s target weight. If you are feeding your pet too much, gradually decrease the amount of food you feed each day. This process should not happen quickly. Rather, you should plan for it take about a month to reduce down to the ideal food amount.

 

Restricting the amount of time your pet has to eat their food is another useful way of helping shed those extra pounds. You should allow your pet to eat as much as they want in around 20 minutes. Whatever food is uneaten at the end of that time should be saved for later. If you do not notice weight loss in your pet using either of these methods, you might want to take a look at the treats you feed your pet. If you do feed treats, try changing to nonfattening ones such as apples, carrots and pears for dogs and squash, cooked carrot and cooked broccoli for cats. Also, if you are currently only feeding your pet once per day, you might want to consider changing to feeding twice per day. This will help your pet to better digest the food and help keep its energy levels consistent. If you decide to feed twice per day, you should feed 2/3 of your pet’s daily allotment in the morning and the other 1/3 in the evening. 

A pug is standing up trying to get to a big bowl of dog food

Exercising the Pounds Away

In addition to making nutritional changes, you should also look at your pets activity levels. Playing with your pet a little more every day is an easy way to help it get some more exercise. One game many cats and dogs alike enjoy is shining a flashlight or laser on the ground and letting it chase it around. Just be careful to never shine bright lights or lasers directly into your pets eyes. Dogs also like to go for a swim, as do some breeds of cats like Bengals. Swimming is also a great activity for pets with joint problems. You can also give your pet nutritional supplements such as PAW Osteocare Joint Health Chews and Joint Guard Powder for Dogs to help ease the pain and rebuild the joints. The less pain your pet is in, the more likely it will be to exercise with you.

 A brown dog runs along the grass with a tennis ball in its mouth

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