Hopefully last week I convinced you how important it is to reverse the trend of overweight pets, both to prevent disease and extend their lives. If you find that your dog or cat (or both!) is a bit on the chubby side here are some helpful tips to get them back on track.

Calories In

Just like people, if your dog or cat is eating more calories than they need, the fat cells will start to accumulate and they will become overweight pets.  Almost all pet foods will list how many calories per cup or can of food; you just need to know where to look.  The especially helpful foods will have it right on the bag but unfortunately that isn’t all that common so you usually need to look at the product’s website.  It can be found under “feeding guidelines” or “nutritional information” and is listed as Kcal per cup or can.

PetTrax RightBite Pet Feeder

PetTrax RightBite will help to prevent overweight pets by controlling calories

Now that you have this information you can check in with your veterinarian to see about how many calories per day your pet should be consuming.  This caloric requirement is based on your pet’s age, if they have been spayed or neutered, what their current weight is and their lifestyle.   A good rule of thumb for cats is around 150-200 calories per day for an average indoor cat.  It is not ideal to follow the recommendations on the back of the bag, as these are usually a bit high.

Calories Out
cat games

Regularly playing with your cats will help to keep them from becoming overweight pets

Once you have determined that your pet is eating the correct amount of food the next step is increasing their activity.  Get your dog outside for a walk or to run around and play ball, this will help burn calories and they will love spending time with you.  In general I am not a huge fan of going jogging with your dog as this puts a lot of stress on their joints and can result in arthritis.  You can feed both cats and dogs out of a feeding toy.  This requires that they work a little to get their dinner rather than just inhale out of a bowl.

Kitties are famous for sleeping most of the day with a few moments spent eating and using the litter box.  Ideally our cats would be eating several small meals a day with some time spent “hunting” for their food.  You can mimic this by placing small bowls of food around the house so your cat has to spend the day looking for it.  Letting your cat outside is not the answer to maintain their weight.  They may lose weight by roaming free outside but there are also countless dangers that are far worse than an extra pound or two.

I hope this helps give you a few ideas to get your pet started on the road to a healthy and lean body condition.  Never hesitate to ask your veterinarian questions, we love helping our patients get healthy!

Ashley Gallagher, DVM

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail
Tagged on:                         

Related Posts

Dog Training – Teach Your Dog to Use a Ball Launcher Pet lovers always want to keep their pets healthy and entertained. Getting your pet more active through playing activities is a great way to keep them...
5 criteria every ‘Board and Train’ facility shou... I have a lot of clients ask me about a board and train program for their dogs. In theory this sounds like a great idea, you leave your dog with someon...
5 Ways Pets Will Improve Your Mental Health We often hear about the physical health benefits of having a pet but as important is how pets improve mental health. There is a lot of press lately on...
Keep your dogs safe from heat stroke Summer is my favorite time of the year but many summertime activities can be dangerous to your pet’s health.  By far the most common threat is the ris...
Brachycephalic Airway Disease – watch out for your smu... As the weather is warming up I want to send a special advisory out to my smushy-faced canine pals. I am talking to the owners of those adorable Pugs, ...
Preventing arthritis in dogs and cats Arthritis is a common ailment for many dogs and cats. It can be a source of chronic pain and negatively affect their quality of life. Also known as de...
Pet Obesity – Let’s End This Epidemic Free feeding pets is just one of the causes of pet obesity At PetTrax, we are focused on helping pet owners keep their pets healthy through proper...