Is your pet overweight?
When you love your pet, you do what it takes to keep him healthy. That means making sure he gets enough exercise and taking him to the vet for regular checkups. It also means keeping him well fed but not so well fed that it makes him pet overweight.
Just like their human owners, pets sometimes gain too much weight. It happens for the same reason. They eat more calories than they burn. As it does with humans, that extra weight can lead to health problems:
- Heart disease
- Breathing difficulties
- High blood pressure
- Reduced stamina
Weigh control might help your pet live longer
It’s been a while since the American Veterinary Medicine Association published its study, “Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs and longevity.” The findings are still relevant. Researchers worked with pairs of dogs, feeding one dog 25% fewer calories than the other from the time they were 8 weeks old. Comparisons over the dog’s lifetimes determined that the food-restricted dogs lived longer and had fewer early signs of chronic disease.
What makes a pet overweight?
Blame it on love. You love your pet so you give him a little too much food. You toss out a treat between meals because he does that trick that makes you laugh. If he gives you a hungry pout, you add a little extra food to his dish long before dinner time
By eating everything you give him, your pet is simply doing what comes naturally. He doesn’t understand what happens when he eats too much. He doesn’t care about that whole pet overweight dynamic because food makes him happy. That means it’s up to you.
Is your pet overweight?
Once your little friend puts on more than a few extra pounds, it’s easy to tell. It’s much better for his health if you monitor his weigh all along. While you’re hanging out and having fun, remember to ask yourself, “Is my pet overweight.” Then give him a big hug and check for the signs.
- No obvious waistline
- Can’t feel his rib cage
- Visible areas of fat
- A pet paunch
What can you do?
If you believe your pet is overweight, of course, you should limit his food so you can reverse the trend. Before you make any drastic diet changes, it’s a good idea to take him in for a checkup. Your vet can make sure he has no developing health conditions. He or she can also talk to you about portion control, diets and special foods for overweight pets.
A Family-Centered Practice
We love our pet patients and families. If you need more information, feel free to contact us at (860) 228-4324. We’ll tell you more about excess weight gain and how it affects your pet.