A healthy weight is key to both a dog’s and a cat’s overall good health. The same of course applies to for people. Its all about the symbiotic relationship between diet and exercise.
Sadly, according to a survey published by the Association of Pet obesity Prevention, a startling 57.9% of cats and 52.7% of dogs are overweight or obese.
Fat cats are not cute and neither are plump pooches. In fact, obesity shortens lives. And it can also trigger:
- Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart and Respiratory Disease
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
- Kidney Disease
- Many Forms of Cancer
- Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years).
A groundbreaking 14-year study by Purina researchers showed that feeding dogs to an ideal body condition* throughout their lives can significantly extend a dog’s healthy years – by an average of 1.8 years for dogs in the study . And although the dogs in the study generally developed the same chronic conditions as they aged, the need for treatment of those conditions was delayed by an average of approximately two years for the lean-fed dogs.
Your pet’s diet is something that should be discussed with your veterinarian. It’s important to make every calorie count – and remember treats have calories too. And, more importantly, NEVER simply reduce the amount of food you are giving daily without the advice of your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. Or change their diet for that matter.
Many pets lead less active lives today, and just as with people, this can result in weight gain.Weight loss has to be done slowly to be effective. On the plus side, it very easy to combine your exercise routine with your dog’s by going walking or running together. And remember if you initiate indoor games for your cat, you will be staying active too.
Recently I had to put Ziggy on a diet. He had been helping himself to Fudge’s food and was literally out of control. I solved that problem by introducing microchip-activated pet bowls to ensure that he could only access his own food bowl. But the damage had been done. The vet advised he had to lose between two – three pounds. That’s between 14 – 21 pounds in human terms.
I put him on the Purina Veterinary OM Weight Management diet (only available from veterinary clinics) and increased his activity by initiating more games with his favorite wand toy. In two months he had dropped two pounds! We are well on our way to meeting his goal weight. Any day now! Then of course will be about maintaining his healthy weight.
Purina has produced special graphics to show how to look at and feel your dog or cat to see if they are overweight along with some tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- CHECK FOR OBESITY
How do you know if your dog is overweight? Start with a Healthy Hug! A simple rib check is a great way to determine if your dog has a weight issue—and it’s a great excuse to give him an extra hug today. Consult your veterinarian about whether a weight management program is right for your dog.
- FOLLOW A NUTRITION PLAN
You and your veterinarian can create a nutrition plan that feeds your dog to his ideal body condition. Refer to the feeding guidelines on your package and adjust feeding amounts as necessary based on your dog’s activity level and body condition change.
- MEASURE EACH SERVING
Don’t just fill up your dog’s bowl at each feeding. Follow the feeding guidelines on the back of Purina packages to give your dog the proper-size serving for his ideal body condition.
- LIMIT TREATS
Shower your dog with love and attention instead of too many high-calorie treats, especially table scraps. Be mindful of the quality and quantity of treats you feed each day—calories add up quickly.
- GET MOVING
Daily exercise is one of the keys to your dog’s health. Just 20 minutes of walking or playing fetch each day can help keep your dog fit. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before changing your dog’s exercise routine
The good news is that getting your cat into shape may help you enjoy many active years together. Follow a healthy weight management plan with these simple steps to help your cat have a long, healthy life.
- OBESITY CHECK
How do you know if your cat is overweight? Start with a Healthy Hug! A simple rib check is a great way to determine if your cat has a weight issue—and it’s a great excuse to give your cat an extra hug today. Consult your veterinarian about whether a weight management program is right for your cat.
- RIGHT NUTRITION
Your veterinarian can recommend a nutrition plan that will help your cat reach ideal body condition. An effective diet should include the right balance of protein, fat and fiber to promote healthy weight loss.
- MEASURE EACH SERVING
Follow the feeding guidelines on the back of Purina packages and measure each serving to ensure you’re feeding the right amount of food for your cat’s ideal body condition. Dividing the daily food allowance among multiple meals can help keep your cat satisfied all day.
- LIMIT TREATS
If providing an occasional treat is important to you and your feline friend, work with your veterinarian to build a treat allowance, such as 10% of the daily calories, into your cat’s nutrition plan.
- POUNCE AND PLAY
Check with your veterinarian to determine how much exercise is appropriate for your cat. Then encourage increased activity with more playtime and even daily walks. Your cat will burn more calories and maintain more lean body mass. And you’ll have fun together.
Its easier to take your dog to a pet store or the vet’s office for aweigh-in.Granted you can hold your cat while you stand on your scale and then subtract your weight. But with cats, every ounce counts, so I invested in a baby scale to weigh Ziggy accurately.
Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets offers both a feline and canine OM Overweight Management® formulas. These specialized formulas contain a high level of protein to help your adult fur kid lose fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. You can learn more about pet obesity here.
This post was sponsored by Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets. However, all opinions are my own. I only write about topics, events and products that I consider readers will consider useful information and relevant to their interests.