Gyms will soon be full of well-intentioned folks trying to shed pounds after the holiday festivities. What about our pets? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 58% of cats and 54% of dogs are overweight or obese (see resource at end of article). If we as humans have New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or tone our muscles, our pets need to do so, too! It may be that if your pet could talk, they would ask you to help them out. Here are some ways you can direct your furry friend:
1. Remember that you ~ as the owner ~ control the food source
Key word: quantity. Your pet can only eat as much as you feed them. Weight loss for your pet may be as simple as reducing the amount of daily food intake. Refer to the food label for recommended meal portions, but always check with your veterinarian also. Sometimes feeding by the label recommendation may still be more food or calories than your pet may need.
2. Little things do matter, such as treats!
Pet treats such as Milk Bones, while delicious, are actually quite high in caloric content. Many human foods used as treats can also cause your pet to pack on the pounds. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on healthy and safe human food treats such as carrots or green beans. Careful, some human foods can be toxic to cats and dogs (another reason to check with their doctor)!
3. Diet does matter.
Most pet owners are acutely aware of this fact due to intense advertising campaigns by many pet food companies. The key word here is quality. Proceed with caution: trendy diets or raw diets may not have veterinary nutritionists on staff or be quality controlled by AAFCO standards (see resource at the end of article for more information about AAFCO). This means that these diets could be lacking in nutritional content or be subject to more frequent recalls. Ask your veterinarian what diet they recommend for your pet. Some pets may need a special diet based on a disease process or intestinal issues.
4. Evaluate your pet’s body condition.
This means you can accurately assess your pet based on appearance and feel to help determine whether they are at an optimal weight. There are numerous resources to help pet owners with this, please refer to the AVMA website listed at the end of this article for more information.
5. Exercise is important (along with a good quality diet at an appropriate quantity).
Staying active is as important for our pets as it is for us, but factors such as age and underlying conditions must be taken into consideration. Talk with your veterinarian about what activities and durations of exercise are indicated for your pet.
Can we help you further? Give us a call at (512) 288-1040 or come by and see us!
~ Sarah Kneupper, DVM
Austin Veterinary Diagnostic Hospital
Dr. Sarah Kneupper, otherwise known as “Dr. Sarah” is a 2015 graduate of Texas A&M University. Dr. Sarah’s strong work ethic and commitment to veterinary medicine make her a natural fit at Austin Veterinary Diagnostic Hospital.
When not working, she and her husband, Brandon, and their son, Josiah, enjoy family time outdoors. Sarah’s hobbies include hiking, camping, water skiing, and scuba diving.
About Austin Veterinary Diagnostic Hospital
Austin Veterinary Diagnostic Hospital (AVDH) is a locally owned Austin veterinary hospital with the equipment and facilities of a specialty hospital. We are passionate about veterinary medicine and aim to improve the lives of our patients and their owners.
Routine wellness and preventative medicine are a large part of our practice. However, it is the ability to diagnose and treat the complex conditions and diseases that sets us apart. Clients appreciate our commitment to provide all veterinary services in one location. Relieving pet’s pain quickly and saving the client time are the results of practicing innovative techniques and utilizing cutting edge technology.
Visit us at www.austinvet.net