Slimming Down: Helping Your Cat or Dog Combat Obesity

Is your pet packing on the pounds? Sadly, studies have found that an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. While rolly polly pets may look cute, it's a clear sign that something could be wrong with your pet on the health front.

Dealing with obesity can be as straightforward as changing your pet's eating habits. But there are also times when the problem is more complex, and professional advice and care are needed to determine the best plan of action.

So keep reading and find out how to help your chubby furchild get back on a path of health and wellness.

What is pet obesity?

Obesity is a nutritional disease defined by excessive body fat tissue. 

To find out your pet's ideal weight range, you can take your pet for a body condition scoring assessment. By looking at a chart online, you can also decide for yourself if your pet is dangerously obese or on the line. A vet will assess your pet's ribcage, abdominal areas, and general proportion.

Depression, inactivity, and lethargy are also common signs of obesity and illness in pets.

Causes of obesity in pets

Here are some of the more common causes of pet obesity:

  • Poor nutrition - Uncontrolled portions due to free-choice feeding systems are detrimental for pets. Food with high carbohydrate contents or high-fat food can also cause weight gain due to its appetizing nature that fails to satisfy.
  • Hypothyroidism - Lowered hormone excretion of the thyroid causes this endocrine disorder, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Insulinoma - Also known as Pancreatic Cancer, insulinoma triggers weight gain by excessive insulin secretion. 
  • Cushing's Disease -  Hyperadrenocorticism is an overproduction of cortisol in the adrenal gland and causes increased appetite. 

Health risks for your obese pet

Your pet is vulnerable to a range of health problems when they are obese such as:

Five ways to help your pet slim down

Weight loss is tricky, but your pet can lose those extra pounds and enjoy a healthier life with a few minor changes. Here are five ways to help guide your pet to a healthier lifestyle.

1. Talk to your vet

Discuss the situation with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. Together you can come up with a plan and record weight loss progress. Having your vet on board will keep you motivated in your pet's weight loss journey. 

2. Change their diet

Good food that is full of protein is ideal for pets. Protein stimulates metabolism and boosts energy; it will also keep your pet satisfied until their next meal. Your vet may suggest a particular brand, or suggest the switch to wet food. 

3. Make them work for their grub

Make mealtime a hunt by purchasing a pet kibble ball or a puzzle feeder that causes your pet to move and engage in getting their food. Your pet will also eat slower, which in turn makes them fuller quicker.

4. Limit treats

Holding back on edible treats and rewarding your pet with other spoils can help with their weight loss journey. If you still want to give your little pet the occasional titbit, count the calories and balance it by reducing the portion of their usual meal. 

5. Increase playtime and exercise

Low-impact exercise is especially beneficial if your pet is older or already struggling with joint issues. Incorporate some gentle play into the day with dangling toys, laser play for cats, and other pet-activated toys that can serve to entertain them even when you're not there. For your dog, add a few more minutes to your daily walk. 

Maintaining a healthy weight

Getting your pet in good shape is not only good for them, but it's good for you too. By taking care of your pet's health, you get to experience the human-animal bond for longer. Today is the day to change bad habits, adopt a weight loss program, and slowly but surely increase your pet's quality of life by achieving a healthy weight.

To help keep your pet happy and healthy, order food, treats, and exercise tools from Pets on Broadway.