Help Your Overweight Pet Shed the Pounds

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Overweight cat (articles.nydailynews.com)

Weight issues and obesity are a problem for all Americans – not just the human members of our society.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats are overweight or obese. That amounts to 41 million dogs and 47 million cats tipping the scales.

Unlike humans who are able to gain control of their diets and lifestyles, our pets depend on us for help shedding the pounds. Like humans, overweight pets also have an increased risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and cancer.

Knowing where to begin to help your overweight pet can be difficult.  The first place to start is the vet’s office where thyroid and hormone issues can be ruled out and a diet plan can be made with your dog’s breed and weight loss goal in mind.

In the meantime, here are some steps toward a healthier pet that you can start taking now:

  • Are you following the serving size recommendations listed on your pet’s food? If not, make that a priority. If yes, consider reducing that amount by 15 to 20 percent for a period of a month to a month and a half to see if it makes a difference.
  • Are you feeding your pet a low-fat diet? Many brands of dog and cat food offer low calorie/fat options that contain a higher protein and higher carbohydrate formula.
  • Do you know how many snacks your pet eats in a day? The dog walker, the babysitter, your kids, your wife – all of these people can be slipping the family pet treats that add up to extra pounds. Make it a family effort to cut out the treats.
  • Is your pet a couch potato? Maybe even your TV watching companion! Time to grab the leash/cat nip, and get moving!

Remember, the companionship of a pet helps keep us healthy, so let’s return the favor and make sure they live the healthiest lives possible!

Source: cnn.com and pets.webmd.com