When it comes to your own diet you try to be as healthy as possible, don’t you? You eat the correct food for energy, try not to overindulge, and reward yourself with treats every now and again; your pet’s diet should be the same.
When animals become overweight they’re susceptible to lots of the same problems you are. Strain is put on their joints which makes mobility difficult. This can dissuade your pet from exercising which can result in obesity. Obesity can then cause serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and respiratory problems.
It’s not just overfeeding your pet that can cause them to become overweight but feeding them the incorrect diet can too. There are hundreds of different pre-packaged pet foods available today, each containing different levels of energy. And if you are feeding your companion a diet that has more energy than they are using, they are at risk of putting on weight.
One of the best ways to keep your pet in great shape is to make sure they’re exercising regularly. Making your companion run, fetch, jump and play will encourage them to stretch their joints and burn energy; it’s also a great way for you and your pet to bond.
When it comes to treats you should make sure your pet is only being rewarded when they have done something worth rewarding (but we do know it can be hard not to give in to those pleading looks)… You could also switch from a commercial treat (generally high in sugar) to something more beneficial such as a dental chew, a low fat treat or a carrot stick.
There are 3 simple questions to ask when checking whether your pet is overweight:
- Can you see their waist when you stand above them?
- Can you feel their ribs when you move your hands down their sides?
- Is their stomach tucked up nicely?
If you answered no to any of these questions you should bring your pet to see our friendly team as soon as possible.
At The Neighbourhood Vet, we appreciate that it can take a little work to figure out which diet best suits your pet. For that reason, our highly experienced nurses hold a number of clinics which you may find useful. These include weight management clinics and physical examinations, both of which are great opportunities to speak to a veterinary professional about your pet’s dietary requirements.