15th April 2019
Your pet’s weight can determine your pet’s health and quality of life, with overweight cat and dogs more susceptible to conditions linked with obesity. As we want as long as we can have with our pets, making sure they stay slim and happy will help make sure that any extra pounds won’t steal years from your pet’s life.
Here are five ways to keep your pet’s weight under control.
1. Controlled feeding - no free-feeding
Free-feeding is when you make food available to your dog at all times, whether it be leaving their daily ration at the start of the day or just making sure the bowl is never empty. This means your cat or dog get to decide when they eat, and it can be more convenient than scheduled feeding but it’s not a problem-free solution.
By providing a full bowl at all times you won’t be able to keep track on what your pet’s eating which means you might miss important signs like a lack of appetite, which might mean your cat or dog isn’t feeling too well. It can also have an effect on their training and house manners as well as their weight.
Weigh their portion out carefully – don’t guess or do it by eye, as it’s easy to overestimate.Some cats and dogs will still eat when they’re full so it’s up to us as their owners to provide their correct daily portion as part of a scheduled meal.
2. Skip the table scraps
Feeding our cats and dogs human food should be avoided at all costs, it’s a major contributor to weight. Not only is human food richer, with a higher calorie content than food designed for pets butsome of the food can be toxic, and sometimes lethal, to our pets.
Combine that with the bad habits and unwanted behaviour you are training your pets to think is acceptable – and you have an iron-clad case to stop giving scraps from the table.
Make sure any leftovers go straight in the bin and if you find it hard to resist their begging meows and puppy eyes then put them in a different room while you eat.
3. Make sure they’re exercised
Our pet’s weight isn’t entirely determined by their food, exercise is important too. Make sure you set aside some time each day to head out with your dog as this will increase their metabolism and helps reduce weight and you’ll enjoy it too.
Cats that are allowed outdoors will often hunt all night, burning any calories before catching even more, but you will have to provide the fun and games for an indoor cat.
4. Cut down on treats
Treats are a great way to get a dog or a cat to behave a certain way, but too many treats will lead to a porky pet. If treats are your go-to for training, then try switching to healthy alternatives or reducing their daily ration to compensate for the treats they’re receiving.
Baby carrots, carrot batons, frozen green beans or blueberries are great alternatives or try and find some quick and easy recipes and get baking.
5. Reduce the calorie content of their food
Cutting the calorie content of the food your pet is eating, combined with controlling the amounts, is a great way to reduce your pet’s energy intake.
Compare the calorie contents of different foods – different makes and types of kibble and wet food will have different calories levels, and if you wish to get more serious - a number of manufacturers produce restricted-calorie foods designed specifically for pet weight loss.
Pets can be notorious picky about food but by trying different brands and types of food you should be able to find something that they will enjoy. Restricting the amount you feed to a carefully controlled portion means that after a while, their desire to eat will drive them to eat what is put in front of them!
Be aware of the dangers of obesity
Some pet lovers underestimate the dangers and complexity of obesity, thinking that cats and dogs that carry some extra weight are cute and cuddly. Unfortunately, the extra weight can increase the risk for a number of serious conditions. These include arthritis, skin diseases and diabetes.
If you have any concerns about your pet’s weight and wellbeing then make sure to speak to your vet.