You may be shocked to learn that up to 40% of dogs and 50% of cats in the U.S. are overweight. Excessive weight gain can cause your pet to develop health problems like heart disease. This can eventually lead to frequent trips to the animal hospital. Here are four things you can do if your pet is overweight:
Assess His or Her Weight
- Take a look at your pet from above. He or she should have a defined waistline that narrows in before the pet’s back hips begin. For dogs, the abdomen should tuck in as it approaches the hind legs. If neither of these features is visible or if you cannot find your pet’s ribs without applying significant pressure, your pet is likely overweight.
Rethink How and What You Feed Your Pet
- Many pet owners free feed their dogs or cats; however, this allows them to easily overeat. Set up regular mealtimes in the morning and evening so that your pet eats his or her limit at a specific time. Look at calories in dog treats and regular feed, and talk to your veterinarian about better options.
Begin a Low-Impact Exercise Plan
- Begin to incorporate exercise slowly. Take your dog to the park and throw a Frisbee, or hop in the pool and have him or her swim to you. Cats can be encouraged to move around more with the help of toys they can chase or try to catch.
Schedule a Check-up
- It’s important to take your overweight pet into the vet to make sure there aren’t any underlying causes, like hypothyroidism. Your veterinarian will examine your pet and help you determine the cause for weight gain as well as the best treatment.
These four tips are a great beginning to getting your pet back on track. At Hudson Veterinary Hospital, we work with pet owners every day and teach them ways to help their best friends live healthy and happy lives. To find out more about our veterinarians in Ossining, NY visit us online or call us at (914) 762-0063.