5 Ways to Help Your Pet Lose Weight

When I came back from my recent vacation to Hawaii, I noticed something different about my cat, Smudge; she was a lot bigger than I remembered! Unfortunately overweight pets are common. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates 54 percent of pets are overweight in America. So what can you do to help your pet if he or she is overweight?

Here are five ways to get your pet back in shape the healthy way:

1. Measure their food

Animals eat differently than humans do when they have access to food throughout the day. They do not eat at the constructed times we designate to fulfill our three meals a day quota. Most pets will eat bites throughout the day. Make sure you fill your pet’s bowls to a veterinarian recommended amount and leave it be or opt to give them one to two meals per day portioned out according to your vet’s recommendation.

2. Keep Family in Check

Sometimes throughout the day, multiple family members will offer your pets treats as signs of affection. How can we keep track of how much our pets are eating if everyone is feeding them? Try keeping the pet’s treats to a minimum per day and come up with a system to keep track of all the treats or table scraps your family gives your pets.

Picture13. Food does not Equal Affection

Sometimes we are tempted to give our pets treats because they are so darn cute! But you must refrain! Using food as a sign of affection can get out of hand and could be the reason why your pet is overweight. Pet MD recommends switching your displays of affection from feeding to physical displays. Saying “Good dog!” or cuddling are better ways of showing affection than feeding.

4. Find the Right Pet Food

Making sure your pet is receiving the nutrition it needs is also a good idea when trying to help them lose weight. Some pet foods are aimed at helping pets maintain a healthy weight as well. Read the labels of different pet foods and talk with a vet to see what food might be best for your pet.

5. Switch Up Treats

Some dog treats are loaded with unnecessary ingredients that could lead to weight gain. The Pet Health Network suggests trying vegetables as a healthy alternative to store-bought treats. Bananas and carrots are good alternatives for dogs. A slice of salmon or tuna is a good and healthy occasional treat for a cat.

Maintaining a healthy weight for your pet is important for its health. A healthy pet lives longer, which means for love and fun for you and your pet!

How do you keep your pet healthy? Share a weight-loss story below!

Featured Image Credit: Les Chatfield (modified)

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