According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 52.7% of U.S. dogs and 57.9% of US cats are overweight or obese.
Those are some staggering statistics.
Pet obesity is a serious health condition, which can lead to diabetes, crippling arthritis, high blood pressure, and increased cancer risk.
As caregivers, we’re responsible for ensuring our pet’s best health—and preventing pet obesity is one of the responsibilities we take on.
However, sometimes we don’t know what we’re doing is actually negatively impacting our pet’s health.
That’s why we’re sharing 4 ways to prevent pet obesity.
Limit food access
Don’t allow constant access to food. Designate certain times of the day for feedings. When your pet has finished their food, remove the bowl so they know eating time is over. However, always ensure access to water—hydration is so important!
Talk to your vet about the correct meal portion sizes for your pet’s age, size, and breed. Communicate that you’re watching your pet’s portion control with anyone who may be responsible for feeding the pet.
Make it easy to ensure the correct portion size by having the correct-sized measuring cup next to the food.
Make sure your pet’s diet works for his or her body type. Most pet foods are 60-70% carbohydrate, moderate to low in fat, and moderate in protein. We recommend a ratio that is about 1/3 protein, 1/3 fat, and 1/3 carbohydrates.
Lay off the snacks
Just like humans, pets shouldn’t over-snack! Some snacks are great, but going over-board can lead to excessive weight gain.
Substitute carrots, sardines, and veggies for processed, carbohydrate-based treats. We’re big fans of dehydrated protein treats that can be broken into tiny pieces.
Your pet only cares that he receives a yummy treat—so why not make it nutritious!
Make it your priority to ensure your pet is receiving enough exercise daily.
One of the best ways to do this is to designate a specific time each day when you concentrate on getting your pet up and moving (you may get some exercise, too!).
Go for a walk, play fetch, and find toys that encourage running around—whatever works best for your pet and your lifestyle.