iStock_000065156107_MediumAccording to the Association For Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 52.7% of dogs and 57.9% of cats in the U.S. are classified as clinically overweight. Excess weight can lead to similar health concerns for both pets and people; osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are here to help. Together we will explore the ins and outs of pet weight management and what you can do to help your pet live a happy, healthy, and long life.

Is My Pet Fat?

Most of us are so used to the sight of overweight pets that we may not even realize our own dog or cat falls into this category. Take a discerning look at your pet to find out if he or she is carrying extra pounds:

  • Look at your pet from the side, a healthy animal will have a tucked abdomen, rather than a sagging stomach.
  • When viewed from above, an animal at a healthy weight will have a visible “waist”. An overweight pet’s back will appear broad and lacking a defined waist.
  • Ribs should be easily felt, but not protruding.

Keeping your pet at a healthy weight can not only add years to his or her life, but it will make those years healthier and more enjoyable for the both of you.

You Hold The Key To Pet Weight Management

The Pet Experts know that weight loss is hard for anyone. Fortunately, with a few simple lifestyle changes, you can get your pet back on track toward a healthy weight in no time!

  • Get moving – All creatures need daily exercise to stay fit and healthy. Make it a priority to get your pet up and moving each and every day, whether that is a daily walk, trip to the dog park, game of fetch, or laser pointer session. There are also plenty of opportunities for indoor activities such as obedience classes, agility training, even yoga for dogs (known as “doga”)!
  • Limit treats – Break treats into halves or quarters to make them smaller or eliminate them altogether. Cooked, plain vegetables make delicious and healthy alternatives to treats for most pets.
  • Offer non-food rewards – Snuggles, praise, and playtime are just a few examples of guilt-free rewards you can offer your pet while training.

Start With Us

Before you start your pet on a weight-loss program, be sure to bring him or her into the office for a wellness exam to rule out any underlying causes for the weight gain, such as thyroid issues or other conditions.

Maintaining a schedule of regular wellness visits is an important component of pet weight management. Your pet is weighed at each visit and you are given the opportunity to discuss concerns and strategies with your veterinarian.

Your pet’s health and happiness are our number one priority here at Naperville Animal Hospital. If you have any questions or concerns regarding pet weight management, don’t hesitate to give The Pet Experts a call!