Hold on to those doggy treats: over 50% of pets in the United States are obese. And just like humans, pet obesity can cause serious health problems and shorten life spans. Here are some tips on how to keep your pet within a healthy weight range.
Work with your vet
Your vet understands your pet’s health history more than anyone else. Talk to him before changing your pet’s diet—even if it means switching him to puppy to adult food, or trying out that new brand of fortified cereal. Your vet will consider things like your pet’s breed, health issues, age and level of exercise when recommending the best food.
Don’t rely on the serving suggestions
The serving suggestions on the labels of pet food are very general. You may think you’re following instructions, but only a vet can say how much wet or dry food your pet needs (or even if he needs a combination of both). Also remember that milk, treats and vitamins contribute to your pet’s source of nutrients.
Take it slow
Your pet needs time to get used to a new eating routine. Take it slowly and don’t give up or panic if his appetite dips momentarily. So if your vet recommends new foods or portion sizes, adjust it incrementally.
Exercise with your pet
It’s good for your pet and for you! Dogs will benefit from half-four walks at a brisk pace. Cats can get a good cardio workout by playing games for 10 minutes—give them a toy that they can run after.
Stick to a routine
Many animals will continue eating even if they’re full—they’ll only stop when the food runs out! So control the portions and bring out the food dish only at set times. Remove the bowl after meal times so your pet doesn’t “nibble” or beg for food between meals. However, always keep the water dish full of fresh water.
Give non-food treats
Your dog may not be begging for food, but love and affection! Play with him, cuddle, take him for a walk. After all, hanging out with you is the best treat of all!
Photo from puppy-training-at-home.com