Is your pet’s weight healthy?
Did you know that when your pet is fed properly and given enough exercise to keep them at their ideal body weight it can add an average of 1.8 years to their life span? That’s nearly two extra years with your furry best friend and all you have to do is learn to ignore the puppy eyes and insistence they are STARVING. Keeping a pet fit can be hard. With both dogs and cats you have to make sure you are monitoring how much food they are eating, how many and how often you give them treats, and making sure they are getting sufficient exercise!
Now I can’t tell you exactly what weight your pet should be, it can depend on MANY different factors. Things like age, body frame, breed and general body composition. They say the average domestic cat should be around 10lbs, but we can assure you, having sat for MANY domestic cats, that is a very, very generalized weight. With dogs they don’t even have an average for the breed as a whole because there are so many factors to take into account with breed!
What I can tell you though is your pets weight has an enormous effect on their overall health and life span and should be taken very seriously. Sure, we all “AWWWWW, look at that chonk!” when we see a picture of a cat or dog that is obviously over weight, but the reality is it’s not cute, it’s dangerous. If you want an exact weight number on where your specific pet should be, please consult your Vet. They are best equipped to give that information based on your specific pets breed, size, body composition, age and activity level. They can also give excellent recommendations on how much your pet should be consuming in a day, those charts on the back of feeding bags are based on averages, and we all know, our babies are NOT average! Helping your pet maintain a healthy weight has so many benefits.
As mentioned above there is no one size fits all management of your pets’ weight. The best place to start is by consulting with your Vet and having a very honest conversation with them. Remember, their feedback is not a reflection on you or how you care for your pet, it’s all about finding out where your pet stands and what you can do to help them if needed.
Once you have determined action needs to be taken you take it one step at a time. If the vet recommends a particular food ask questions about that food, is it a higher protein content than most, why that brand? Once you know more you can make an informed decision about your food purchases and shop around for the best deal. Treats and table scraps tend to be the number one suspects for over weight pets, if the Vet says you need to stop or at least cut back, LISTEN.
The final recommendation for pet weight loss will be increased activity. Now, if you have a cat, this can be tricky. Most cats don’t walk on leashes and getting them to chase something, when they don’t feel like it, is an exercise in frustration. To be honest, with cats you are just better off focusing on their food intake and cutting out treats, good luck with getting them to exercise. But with dogs, well that can be a much simpler solution for faster results.
If I could be half the person my dog is, I'd be twice the human I am.
One of the number one things you can do to help your dog remain healthy is to keep them as active as possible with regular walks. It doesn’t have to be daily but a good 30 minute walk 2-3 times a week goes a long way in keeping them fit. If you find that you don’t have time or are unable to walk them yourself, consider hiring a dog walker! Not only will they get their exercise in but if you schedule their walk while you are at work you get to come home to a tired pup; and a tired dog is a good dog!