October 11th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Obesity is extremely common among our four-legged friends these days. More than half of pet dogs and cats are carrying extra weight! While Fido and Fluffy may look cute if they’re a bit pudgy, they’ll be much healthier if they stay at or near their ideal weight. Here, a local Champaign, IL vet offers advice on helping your furry pal beat the battle of the bulge.
Measure Your Pet’s Portion Sizes
Portion control can make a huge difference. Even giving Fido and Fluffy ten extra calories a day can cause them to gain a pound a year. A hundred extra calories per day comes out to roughly a pound a month. That’s a lot for a pet, especially with cats and smaller dogs! Use a measuring cup to divvy up dry food, and measure wet food according to package directions and your vet’s recommendations.
Choose Appropriate Food
It’s also important to choose high-quality food, one that is appropriate for your pet’s age, size, and breed. You don’t necessarily need the most expensive brand, but don’t opt for the cheapest, either. Lower-quality foods tend to be packed with fillers, such as corn, which really aren’t the best things for our furry companions.
Don’t Go Overboard With Treats
There’s nothing wrong with giving your furry best buddy the occasional snack. In fact, treats are beneficial. Just don’t go too crazy. Stick with healthy options, such as plain, uncooked meat, fish, or poultry, and limit fatty foods like bacon and sausage.
Keep Them Active
Proper exercise is just as important for pets as it is for people. Most dogs need at least a daily walk, though some require as much as an hour—or even more—a day. As for cats, playing is Fluffy’s favorite workout. Offer your feline friend lots of fun toys, and play with her regularly.
Monitor Their Weight
Keep a close eye on your four-legged pal’s weight. It’s much easier to adjust and correct a two-pound gain than a ten-pound gain!
Diet and exercise aren’t the only factors that determine your pet’s weight. Age, genetics, and medical problems can also play roles. Sudden weight gain is often an indication of health issues. If you aren’t sure why your fuzzy pal is turning into a butterball, reach out to your vet.
Do you have questions about your four-legged pal’s health or care? Contact us, your local Champaign, IL pet hospital, anytime!