4 Ways to Prevent Pet Obesity
In 2018, 59.5% of cats and 55.8% of dogs classified as overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). October 9 is National Pet Obesity Awareness day so we’re here shedding a little light on this national issue.
Run Those Dogs was founded on combining two of owner Jen Sewell’s loves, animals and fitness. Her passion is grounded in helping pet parents provide a safe, healthy, happy lifestyle for their pets. Here at Run Those Dogs we are dedicated to supporting you and your furry friend in developing a well-rounded lifestyle that puts everyone at ease.
Just like people, pets can become obese from lack of exercise and/or the wrong or two much of a specific diet. Obesity can be detrimental to your pet long-term. Luckily, you can prevent obesity in your pet, adding years to your pet’s life by lowering their risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and other health risks. So, how can you prevent pet obesity in your pets?
For dogs, this could be as simple as a daily walk around the block or playing ball in the yard. Cats also need regular daily activity. Play with a lazer pointer, a feather flyer toy, a cardboard box or time safely exploring in your back yard.
If your pet is no longer motivated to play, worry not, there are ways! Try using positive reinforcement with low-calorie treats or find toys your dog goes nuts over. It may take some time but you’ll find that once you learn what your pet likes, you’ll start having fun too. One tip to keep your pets interested is to rotate toys that are available for playtime. Have several, but bring each out only once or twice a week so they feel fresh and new each time.
We’re here when you need our support, when you just can’t get to it, when you’re on vacation and/or traveling for work. Run Those Dogs is here to help when you can’t fit in all your pet needs. We offer several different services like running, walking, and pet sitting to support your dedication to your pet’s healthy lifestyle.
Exercise helps manage weight best when managed alongside your pet’s diet.
There are several moving pieces to a pet’s diet and the best part is it is all manageable! For starters, figure out your pet’s ideal weight. That is easier for pure-bred dogs but still possible with super mutts. Once you have a reasonable estimate then you can determine if your pet is over or under this ideal.
How do you decide how much food to feed your pet? Once you know the ideal weight, you can verify that you’re feeding the right amount of food each day. That’s called portion control. Then set a routine for your pet’s food. Before you go to work, when you get home, something that is easy for you to remember. We recommend that you not feed your pet right after you wake up in the morning. Otherwise you might find your pet staring you in the face at 4 AM, ready to eat.
If you have an indoor cat you are free-feeding, meaning you leave a bowl of food out and fill it back up when it is empty it might be time to change to a routine. It will keep your cat from overeating and even build a stronger relationship between you and your cat.
Food quality can also play a role in your pets health. Of course, all of the above assumes you’ve already chosen a quality food for your pet. But it’s getting harder and harder to tell quality pet food from the rest. APOP President and veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward. “The majority of pet owners are overwhelmed with pet food choices and conflicting dietary advice and desperately want help and nutritional recommendations from veterinarians.” Read over the ingredients and consider picking up food made for overweight animals. An increase in fiber can also support weight loss. We also have other thoughts in our previous blog post, Practicing Holistic Pet Care. But we definitely recommend you talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s diet.
Work with your Vet
You’re not alone on your pet journey. Your vet is there to help support your pet’s health. There are times where you are doing all the right things but there could be something genetic or an underlying health problem keeping them from living their best life. Consider scheduling an appointment and seeing what your local vet has to say to help you and your pet gain control over their weight.
Veterinarians work with hundreds of cats and dogs each year. They have experience that helps them know what works and what doesn’t. They are also usually on top of food recalls and ideal diets for a range of breeds. Be sure to work with them to gradually and carefully adjust your pet’s diet and exercise plan over time to ensure healthy weight loss and then, eventually, maintenance.
Spay or Neuter your Pet
Did you know that spaying/neutering has been shown to reduce the daily energy requirement (DER) of adult cats by 24–33% compared to intact cats? The decrease in DER does not appear to be influenced by age at neutering. Reduced energy requirements have also been noted in spayed and neutered dogs. Spaying and neutering can also support other health benefits immediately and down the road for your pet. You can read about those in our previous blog post Let’s Fix these Spay Neuter Myths.
We recommend you assess with your veterinarian your pet’s weight regularly and take action right away to ensure you’re approaching their ideal weight. Taking these steps will ensure that your pets live longer, healthier lives at your side. And don’t forget to give yourself the same care and attention so that you can be there for them. Check out our previous blog, Seven Ways to Get Fit with Your Pet, for ideas on how to make that a reality. Be sure to get in touch when more exercise is needed than you can reasonably provide. We’re here to help you and your pet live your best life. We wouldn’t have it any other way.