Admittedly, chunky cats and dogs are cute cats and dogs. They look extra snuggly when they have a few extra pounds packed on, and belly rubs become irresistible. Unfortunately, though, just like for humans, obesity in pets is a big issue and can lead to many other health concerns. That pudge is shortening the life of your pet and making him or her uncomfortable by limiting mobility.
So, if your New Year's resolution is to start hitting the gym and eating clean, maybe you should make the same resolution for your pet.
Finding a Healthy Weight
Many people don't know what their breed of pet is supposed to look like at a healthy weight, and thus, they aren't even aware that that their cat or dog is unhealthy. At your next check-up, if your veterinarian doesn't mention your pet's weight, be sure to ask them specifically whether your furry friend could stand to lose a few. You should be able to feel the ribs of a dog when petting gently, for example.
Another issue that pet owners have is not knowing how much or how often to fill up the food bowl. Most owners are well-intentioned in feeding their pets whenever they beg for it, but if this is a habit for you, you're most likely overfeeding. Be sure to read the container of the food to see how much and how often you should be giving food to your pet, and make sure to use a measuring cup to avoid accidental overfeeding.
Reducing your pet's portions should do the trick in helping him or her lose weight, but switching up the food can help, too. There are plenty of weight management foods available, and if your pet still seems hungry, you can mix it with a low-calorie food such as Cheerios or green beans to make the bowl fuller. It's also important to make sure you're not feeding your pet too much table food – and if you are, be selective! Giving your dog a piece of chicken breast is much better than letting him finish your slice of pizza.
Obviously, with any pet, exercise is important. Invest in a laser pointer if you've got a cat – it will motivate him to run around the house before sleeping it off. Walk or jog with your dog on a regular basis since it will benefit you, too! You and your pet can achieve your resolutions together.
If your pet remains overweight, it can case a wide number of health issues. For instance, being overweight puts strain on the joints, making it difficult to climb stairs and be mobile in general. This can contribute to arthritis, which may cause depression or anxiety in the animal due to consistent pain. Diabetes is also possible in pets, which can be life-threatening. Plus, caring for animals with diabetes is time-consuming and sometimes expensive; you need a lot of diabetic supplies to care for cats
and dogs. As with humans, heart disease and complications can also result from obesity.
So, this year, when you resolve to hit the gym and snack on salad, resolve for your pet to do the same. You'll get to enjoy each other's' company for many more years!