As a pet owner, the health of your pet is always top of mind. Likewise, proper nutrition and exercise are a factor in keeping your pet in top shape. Also, excessive weight gain may lead to a risk in certain medical conditions. Because of this, we’re hoping this guide on pet obesity prevention can be beneficial for all pet owners. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to discuss pet obesity prevention and tips to keep your furry friends in great shape.
What you need to know about pet obesity prevention
How do dogs and cats become obese?
A pet’s weight can vary depending on their age and breed. For example, a puppy or kitten’s weight gain might be different from a senior pet. Wilde breaks down what causes weight gain in pets.
“Dogs and cats become obese the same way humans do when calorie intake exceeds energy needs. With pets, that can be due to overfeeding with too much food at each meal or too many treats, as well as sedentary lifestyles. There are certain medical conditions that can cause weight gain, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, so if weight gain is a concern, the pet should definitely be evaluated by a veterinarian.”
If your pet has eaten for the day, consider taking a walk or a game of toss instead of giving them treats. Naturally, your furry friend will love the attention and interaction. Also, it gives you a chance to increase their daily exercise and bond with them at the same time.
The benefits of pet obesity prevention
Pet obesity prevention is important for the overall health and wellness of your furry friends. Also, additional weight gain can be a risk factor for medical conditions in pets. Wilde explains further what weight gain does to the body.
“Obesity puts extra strain on the heart and joints in dogs and cats just like in people. Maintaining ideal body weight is an important part of managing pain from arthritis, and minimizes the risk of developing diabetes, for which excess weight is a significant risk factor.”
Whether you have a new puppy or kitten, proper weight maintenance is important for the growth and development of your new furry friend. Consider the following pet obesity prevention tips to keep your pets in their best health.
Have your pet assessed by a veterinarian to determine what their ideal weight should be and have them make diet recommendations. There are prescription diets for dogs and cats that can be very beneficial in achieving weight goals.
Be mindful of the number of treats a pet receives throughout the day. They can easily add up and lead to excessive calorie intake.
Make sure your pets get regular exercise and playtime.
Designate one person in the house to be in charge of feeding to make sure that the pets are fed the same amount consistently, and that they aren’t accidentally getting extra meals.
Use a measuring cup for feeding to ensure consistency and reduce the risk of overfeeding.
Don’t give in when they look at you with sad eyes or when they beg.
Foods that are labeled as “light” or “reduced calorie” may even have higher calories than normal foods-examine the label to make sure that the food being fed is truly a reduction in calories.
Feeding directions on the bag may lead to overfeeding. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate number of cups to be fed daily.
Pet obesity prevention for the health of your pets
Your pet may gain weight at any point in their development. Whether you are a new puppy owner or have a multi-pet household, every pet is different. Naturally, your pet’s weight may change over their lifetime. But by keeping active and listening to the expertise and guidance of your veterinarian, your pet can reach a healthy weight.
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her workday writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, being inspired by pets, and luckily gets to hang out with her rescue dogs all day long. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been featured on the DOGTV blog, KitNipBox blog, Get Your Pet blog, Fansided, among many others.