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What to Do For an Overweight Pet

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Did you know that 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese? Being overweight can lead to health complications, damage to joints, and ultimately, a decrease in quality of life. Monitoring food intake, regular exercise, and smart snacking can lead to a longer, healthier life for your pet. You might be making some excuses for your pet, but by clearing up a few weight-related misnomers, your four-legged friend can maintain a comfortable weight for his or her frame.

My pet is always hungry.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear — this is not likely the case. Begging eyes and a sense of "insatiable hunger," especially in dogs, can make it seem like your pet is not getting enough food each day. Keeping a regular feeding schedule based on species and breed ensures all dietary needs are met.

I did not realize my pet was overweight.
You can quickly determine if your pet is overweight by simply looking at his or her waist. You should be able to see a defined waist, not a single barrel from mouth to tail. Being aware of this early on makes it easier to maintain a happy weight throughout your pet's life.


I do not have time for exercise every day.
Exercise is extremely important for all animals, whether it is physical or mental. Setting aside 15 minutes of dedicated exercise time daily is crucial. If you notice that your exercise time is being reduced, the amount of food being consumed needs to be reduced as well. Walking is a great low-impact exercise for dog owners, and mental stimulation, such as training games and problem solving toys, is great for both species.

I am exercising my pet and feeding him a healthy diet, but he is still overweight.
Talk to your veterinarian. It is possible your pet may have an underlying health issue or there is something else going on that is preventing the ability to maintain a healthy weight. Your vet is the best source for dietary questions and developing a course of action that works best for both you and your furry friend.

There are many wonderful aspects to life with an animal, so do not cut that time short with completely avoidable health risks. A healthy pet is a happy pet!

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