Obesity in pets has reached a national epidemic, according to a recent report from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. The organization states that more dogs and cats are overweight or obese than those who are a healthy weight. The exact numbers are 54 percent for dogs and 59 percent for cats. Obesity in pets means that the animal’s weight is at least 30 percent higher than desired for the age, breed, gender, and species.
Excess body weight can cause numerous health problems in dogs and cats, just as it can in people. Cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are among the most serious. Being overweight or obese also diminishes quality of life. Your pet may struggle with breathing or walking difficulty, low energy, chronic joint pain, depressed mood, and more due to the excess weight. As surprising as it seems, many pet owners don’t recognize when their dog or cat weighs too much.
To maintain a stable weight, women should aim for 2,000 calories per day and men 2,500 calories per day. However, the caloric needs for pets is significantly less. A 10-pound animal needs only 200 calories per day to remain healthy. For a 50-pound dog, 700 to 900 calories is usually enough. You can click here to learn more about caloric needs for your dog or cat.
How to Help Your Pet Lose Weight
The first step in helping your dog or cat slim down is knowing how many calories he consumes in a day. To do this, you need to know how much food you’re giving him. We recommend using a measuring cup when you feed your pet so there’s no question of how much he’s eating. A common mistake among pet parents is continually filling the food dish and allowing their dog or cat to graze off and on throughout the day. If you do give your pet treats, make sure they contain nutritious ingredients and have little to no sugar.
Don’t Change Your Pet’s Diet Before Consulting Us
Dogs and cats are sensitive to any change in their diet, even when you switch to a healthier or lower calorie food. Before making any changes, please schedule an appointment with your pet’s regular veterinarian at Battletown Animal Clinic for a check-up. We will review the ingredients in the food your pet currently eats and ask you questions about treats and how often she exercises. We may make a recommendation for a specific brand of pet food that you can order easily from our online store.