Shorter winter days and more time at home may mean your pet has been a little less active, and perhaps has even had a few extra snacks on the side. Never fear, to prevent a portly pet emerging this spring, we are here to help combat winter weight gain!
Carrying a few extra kilos puts our pets at risk of serious conditions, such as heart disease, osteoarthritis and diabetes. As we get so used to seeing overweight pets out and about, most people aren’t often aware that their pet is overweight.
Your pet’s diet will have the most significant impact on their weight. A bit of toast here, some cheese, leftovers, a bone and maybe some tinned food all add up. If 5kg is considered a healthy weight for your pet, it can be easy to blow the calorie intake for the day with just one snack! Plus, all these extra tidbits can lead to tummy upsets and problems such as pancreatitis.
How do you know if your pet is overweight?
The very best way to determine whether your pet is overweight is to drop in for a weight check-up with us. A visual examination will allow us to score your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight management plan. Due to current social distancing protocols, please phone us before you come in to make sure we can safely weigh your pet.
At home, when you look down from above, an overweight pet will have lost the definition of their waist. Instead of an hourglass figure, they might look more like a barrel on legs! You will no longer be able to feel their ribs easily when you run your hands over their sides. A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy and fat over the hips.
How Can You Help?
Getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think, but it does take committment.
Just reducing the amount you feed your pet is never enough. In fact if your pet is not fed enough their bodies make them rest more to conserve energy, they become more sedentary which in turn can lead to more weight gain.
The key is the right type of diet and the correct amount. Whilst there are several prescription diet foods available to help pets lose weight, we have had the most success with a special food which helps boost your pets own metabolism. Metabolic diet is a scientifically formulated diet that helps the body burn calories faster, whilst also helping pets feel full, and satisfied.
Regular, physical exercise is also an important part of a weight loss plan. This can obviously be easier with dogs than cats. The best part is that once the process starts working then the weight loss becomes a lot easier as your pet's own body begins to do the job for itself.
The hardest part in helping pets lose weight is as pet owners we have to make the conscious decision to make the change, and apply a little tough love when required. I'm sure we would all agree the benefit of a happier, healthier pet is definitely worth it.