While it might be amusing to see a fat cat nap on a pillow, or cute to cuddle with a pudgy puppy, the ubiquity of domestic pet obesity is a grim reality. Thousands of pets steadily swell over the years and suffer painful side effects because of their owner’s lack of intervention.   Your pet’s life, health and comfort matter and should be a priority. Chubby cats and dogs are becoming the new “norm,” even though the physical ramifications are intense. Learn how you can help prevent your fuzzy friend from the dangers.

Preventative Measures

  • Check if your pet if obese by running your fingers down his stomach. If you can feel his ribs without pressing down on the fur, than he is likely in decent condition. But if you are struggling to feel any definition, or are aware of a thick layer of extra lovin’ around the rib cage, and the stomach is swollen and gut-like, it is time to take action.
  • Monitor portion control. Many dog breeds (here’s looking at you, Beagles) will actually eat themselves sick if given the chance.   If you are feeding your dog more than twice a day, with several large scoops or helpings, you are not doing your pet any favors. Be careful not to reduce the portions so severely that your pal will go into starvation mode, but just be careful not to overfeed. He may lick his lips in the moment, but you are doing your cat or dog no favors by encouraging an unchecked appetite.
  • Quit the snacking. Yes it feels generous to let your kitty lick the extra tuna out of the can, or throw your pooch scraps from the table- but this has to stop! Not only does this train animals to beg for food, but it is unhealthful to their diet. Pets can accumulate copious amounts of calories every day by the little treats here and there that we give them. Help them get lean, no matter how much they try to beg you.
  • There are pet food products specifically designed to help reduce weight and maintain a balanced diet for your pet. Shop wisely when looking for the right kind of nourishment, as many companies compromise quality and use fillers in their products. Try to find lean meats, and high-protein, pro-biotic and micronutrient-rich foods to make sure your pet is getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy.
  • Kick up the level of fitness!   You may be walking your dog daily or playing with your cat… but is that walk more of a light stroll or a waddle? Is your cat partially reclined while he swats at the dangling feather? Time is limited in our busy lives, so make sure the hour or so that you spend with your pet is filled with robust and vigorous exercise. Take your dog on a long hike, or go for a run with him on the leash. Invest in a remote mouse that your cat can chase around, or buy a laser he can practice jumping for.   Helping your dog or cat get the right nutrients, and providing a healthy avenue to burn off extra fat, will help keep your feline and canine buddies in the best physical condition.