Is your pet a little on the chubby side? Are you worried about his gradually increasing waist-line? Whether your pet has a little extra around the middle, or you’re just looking for the best ways to keep your pet healthy, there are many precautions you can take. A recent article on the ABC News website provides valuable tips written by veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward.
- Calculate calories. The very starting point for feeding your pet is determining how many calories he needs on a daily basis. Every animal is different depending on his activity level, age, etc. so you might need to do a little trial and error. Dr. Ward provides a good formula on how to calculate the number of calories your pet needs:
Divide your pet’s weight by 2.2. Multiply this figure times 30. Add 70 and you’ve got a good idea of how many calories you should be feeding a typical inactive, indoor spayed or neutered pet. Of course, each pet’s metabolism is different, so be sure to consult your veterinarian before starting a diet.
- Measure meals. Rather than making a general guess, invest in a measuring cup for your pet’s food so that you can be sure that you’re feeding the proper amount at each meal.
- Make wise treat choices. Purchase healthy, low-sugar, low-calorie treats for your pet and be sure to watch how many treats are being handed out each day. One way to give your pet the same amount of treats for fewer calories is to break the treats up into tiny bits which are still just as tasty and rewarding to your pet.
- Consider veggies. Rather than processed pet treats, consider rewarding with healthy vegetables! Dr. Ward suggests baby carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, and celery. You can also add apples, bananas and ice cubes into the mix! For cats, he suggests a flake of salmon or tuna.
- Daily exercise. We all know that good health is a result of diet and exercise which is what our pets need as well. Take your dog on a 2o-30 minute walk or get your cat to chase toys around the house for 5-15 minutes each day to improve cardiovascular health.
- Supplements. Dr. Ward recommends supplements for cats and dogs, stating that a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement will provide antioxidants that help prevent numerous diseases, ease joint pain, and encourage weight loss. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before starting any new supplements.
- Low carbs. Check your pet food labels and try to cut back on the carbs. Look for low-grain or no-grain foods whose first listed ingredient is a protein source.
Read the entire article with more in-depth explanations on ABC News.