A pug in a grassy fieldAccording to a recent survey conducted by the Association For Pet Obesity Prevention found that 53% U.S. dogs and 58% of cats are overweight or obese.

Much like humans, pets require daily exercise and the right amount of high quality, nutritious food to maintain an optimal state of health.

Fortunately, we as pet parents can have a direct impact on the health, well-being, and longevity of our pets through proper nutrition and weight management strategies.

The Risks Of Obesity

Obesity may be one of the biggest threats faced by our nation’s pets. A pet only needs to be as little as 15% overweight to suffer negative impacts on his or her health. Overweight pets are at risk for many of the same ailments as overweight humans, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Certain cancers
  • Shortened lifespan

Is My Pet Overweight?

Many of us have grown so accustomed to the sight of overweight or obese pets that we may not even realize our own pet weighs too much. Look for the following signs that your pet has packed on the pounds:

  • When viewed from above, a pet at a healthy weight will have a visible “waist”. In overweight pets the waist is not visible and the back appears broad.
  • When viewed from the side, pets at a normal weight will have a tucked abdomen. Overweight pets often have protruding stomachs.

Choosing The Right Pet Food

The pet food aisle at your local pet supply store or supermarket can be a daunting place. How do you know which food is right for your pet? Should you purchase grain-free pet food? Organic? Raw? And what about food for senior pets vs. younger pets?

The ideal pet food offers an age appropriate balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Nutrition is a big deal to us here at BeeVet, and we are happy to answer any of your questions regarding pet food brands, types, and labels.

Healthy Treats

Treats play an important role in training and quality of life for your pet. Not only are many of the treats on the market loaded with unhealthy ingredients, it’s easy to give your pet too many. Talk to your veterinarian about the types and amount of treats to use, and try some of these strategies when offering treats to your pet:

  • Provide mental stimulation for your pet by using a food puzzle to dispense treats.
  • Scatter small treats or kibble around the home or yard and allow your pet to “hunt”. This encourages your pet’s natural foraging instincts while also burning calories.
  • Cooked, plain vegetables make delicious and healthy treats for many pets. Talk to your veterinarian about appropriate use of people food as treats.

An Ounce Of Prevention

Preventing your dog or cat from gaining weight in the first place is much easier than trying to help him or her slim down. Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise on a daily basis and discuss with your veterinarian the type and amount of pet food to feed. Maintaining a regular schedule of wellness exams is another crucial component to good health, as your pet’s weight will be assessed and discussed at each visit.

Please give us a call with any questions or concerns you have regarding pet nutrition and weight management.