May 19, 2022
Many pets struggle with being overweight and for some there are significant health side effects to being overweight. When not acknowledged and addressed early on, it can become more difficult for your pet to lose weight.
The following are health concerns for overweight pets:
- Cruciate ligament tears and other soft tissue injuries
- Heart disease
- Worsening of airway disease
- Bladder and urinary tract infections
There are 2 main adjustments to make in order to help your pet lose weight. Weight loss should be done slowly (sometimes over 6 months depending on how much weight loss is needed).
The first is to increase activity. This should be done slowly so that your pet doesn’t sustain injuries from over exercising. Start with short on leash walks and slowly build up to longer walks, runs and lastly add in off leash activity. If your cat needs to lose weight, consider getting some toys to play with, adding a cat tree to climb and using puzzle feeders so they have to work for the food.
The second aspect to weight loss is decreasing calorie intake. Sometimes, you can stick with the same food, but decrease the portion. Consider that most bags of food will overestimate the amount needed to maintain a weight. It is also important to feed based on goal weight, not current weight. There are over the counter weight management or light diets that work to help some pets lose weight. For significant weight loss, some pets may need a prescription diet. If you need to change your pet’s diet plan for a transition over 7-10 days by mixing the old and new food.
There are some metabolic diseases (such as hypothyroid disease or Cushing’s disease) that can cause pets to be overweight, so a veterinary consult is warranted when your overweight pet isn’t losing those extra pounds.
Weight loss can be hard and there is not 1 strategy that works for every pet. Don’t give up! Keep trying different solutions and feel free to bring your pet in for weight checks as it can be hard to tell when weight loss is happening over time. If you need any help or have any concerns about your pets weight, call us at Pawtown and we are happy to help!