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The Obese Pet

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.

 

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 hair. If you cannot feel its ribs, it most likely 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. Make sure your pet is not suffering from a medical issue and ask your vet what your pet’s ideal weight should be.

 

Putting Your Pet on a Diet

The first step in helping your pet lose unwanted pounds is to put it 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 to your pet. Usually, you can 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 to it each day. This process should not happen quickly. Rather, it should take about a month to get down to the ideal food amount.

 

Allow your pet to eat for 20 minutes after feeding it. Whatever food is uneaten should be picked up and saved for later because this will prevent the loss of nutrition. If you do not notice weight loss in your pet, you might want to take a look at the treats you feed to it. If you do feed treats, try changing to nonfattening ones such as peas, apples, celery, green beans, pineapple, and grapes. Also, if you are on a once per day feeding schedule, you might want to consider changing feedings to twice per day. This will help your pet better digest the food and 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.

 

Exercising the Pounds Away

In addition to making nutritional changes, you should take a look at the amount of activity your pet receives. Simply playing with your pet a little more is an easy way to help it get some more exercise. One game many pets enjoy is shining a flashlight on the ground and letting it chase it around. Dogs also like to go for a swim. For pets with joint problems, be sure to select activities that are not painful. Also, provide your pet with nutritional supplements 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.

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