Weight Loss: How To Help Your Pet
Weight loss is not just tough for people, but it can be equally difficult for our four-legged friends. However, losing weight has the potential to add fulfilling and enjoyable years to your beloved pet’s life. Helping your furry friend shed some weight requires a commitment to exercise, diet and the assistance of a knowledgeable veterinary team.
Related Health Risks
Even if your pet is just 5 pounds overweight, they are at risk for developing debilitating medical conditions. Some common diseases associated with excess weight include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Some Cancers
Moreover, overweight animals on average have a shorter lifespan than their in-shape counterparts. Watch for telltale signs of obesity. A heavy pet will tend to lie around, they are less energetic and playful.
Beginning a Weight Loss Program
Always consult your veterinarian before putting your pet on a weight loss program. Your vet can rule out any underlying diseases that may be the root cause of your pet’s obesity such as hyperthyroidism.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to weight loss programs. For many pets, feeding will consist of a specific diet food in several meals per day. A member of your veterinary team can help you determine the type of food as well as appropriate amount to feed.
Exercise for Weight Loss
Not only is diet important to your pet’s weight loss, but exercise is also an imperative part of the equation. Some tips for getting your pet to exercise more include:
- Use a slow feeder, it will help your pet feel full.
- Use toys, balls, laser pointers, squeaky toys or sticks to encourage games of fetch or chase.
- Aim for daily 30-minute brisk walks. A brisk walk is a faster pace of walking that should increase both your heart rate and your pets.
Food for Affection
Many of us cannot resist giving into our pets while they stare as we eat. But it is important to stop feeding your pet table scraps or extra treats, especially if obesity is a concern. Instead, show your fur baby affection through pets and cuddles. Try taking them on a walk or playing with their favorite toy. If all else fails, you can give your pet a few pieces of a vegetable for a low calorie treat.
To learn more about weight-loss for your pet, visit Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital. To schedule an appointment, you can contact us or call us at (423) 378-4443 today!