Do you have an overweight pet?
It is so easy to put on a few pounds over the Christmas season but when was the last time that you thought about your pet’s waistline? Pets are considered obese when they are as little as 20% overweight, with dire consequences for their health – from diabetes, to heart conditions, arthritis or even premature death. But the good news is that you can help your pet to get back into shape, with the right diet and exercise.
The first port of call if you are worried about your pet’s size or to start a weight loss plan should always be your local veterinary surgery. Wood Green, The Animals Charity also runs MOT clinics and advice sessions for owners of cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and dogs throughout the year – you will find more details on the events calendar at woodgreen.org.uk.
Follow our top tips to get your podgy pet back in shape…
Is my pet overweight?
Signs your pet could be overweight include one or more of the following:
- Ribs cannot be felt
- Loss of an obvious waist
- Collar needs loosening
- Difficulty in walking and getting up
- Shortness of breath
- Sleeping more than usual
What causes weight gain?
Portion sizes – many of us over-feed our pets. Always check the back of the food packet and weigh out their food, especially the first time you use a new brand.
Too many treats and titbits – treats are often high in fat and sugar. A bowl of milk or a piece of cheese may seem like a small treat but it’s a whole meal for pets.
Age – older pets are less active and need fewer calories.
Neutering – metabolism is altered so pets are prone to weight gain after neutering.
How can I help my cat lose weight?
Overweight, fat cats face a number of medical issues that slimmer felines are less likely to suffer. Not being able to groom properly can increase their risk of dermatitis and other skin problems.
- Diet plays a major factor in managing a cat’s weight. Aim to feed them a high quality diet low in carbohydrates.
- Feed cats at specific meal times rather than having food available all day.
- Exercise is the other important factor. You can’t really take your cat for a jog or a walk around the block but you can spend time playing with them.
- Try out interactive toys for your cat to play with..
How can I help my dog lose weight?
- Regularly check the portion size, as it’s easy to gradually increase this without realising!
- Divide the food allowance into several smaller meals to help satisfy your dog.
- Reward your dog with food from their food allowance rather than extra treats and scraps.
- Try giving your dog a carrot rather than a fatty chew!
- Increase their exercise through play and regular walking.
For more information about looking after your pet or to find out how to rehome a happy, healthy pet visit woodgreen.org.uk or call 0844 248 8181.
Amira and Milo (both pictured) are desperately seeking new homes – could that be with you?