My Pleasantly Plump Pet
A Slippery Slope
Since our pets are adopted members of our family, our diet and exercise choices are often reflected in our pets’ health as well. What starts out as an extra portion here and there adds up over time. Currently, 60% of men and women in the United States are either overweight or obese, with 60% of cats and 56% of dogs sharing in our condition. Pet obesity can lead to a multitude of adverse health issues, including difficulty breathing, skin issues, diabetes, walking/hip issues, a reduced quality of life and a shortened life expectancy. The good news is that at Pet Wants, we offer solutions, not shame.
From Pleasantly Plump to Top Dog
At Pet Wants, our Nutritional Specialists can help you assess the ideal weight of each pet. Then, we guide you through a comprehensive plan that involves nutrition, portion size, exercise, and moderation of treats. Let’s look at each of these topics in order.
When it comes to healthy weight loss, proper nutrition starts with the right ingredients. Too often, the image on the front of the bag instead of the ingredient list on the back influences the purchasing decision and trouble follows.
For weight loss, a pet needs to have more protein and fewer carbohydrates, but keep in mind that ingredients are listed in order by weight before processing. Chicken may be the first item, but after it’s been dried and ground, the weight could decrease by 80% or more, moving it down the list. Carbohydrates need to be whole ingredients, not flours or starches, and by-products can make weight loss difficult. Who can decipher the ingredients for you? Your Pet Wants Nutritional Specialist.
Every pet is unique and nutritional needs differ, based on the breed, age, activity, weight, and health. At Pet Wants, we are aware that many dogs are overweight, so we adjust feeding guidelines to recommend the most nutrition possible with the fewest number of calories.
For humans and pets alike, exercise is vital to overall good health, vitality, and weight control. A good rule of thumb is to exercise with your pet for 30-60 minutes every day in the form of playing, walking, hiking, or any fun physical activity. Find activities you enjoy and start slow. Watch your pets happy, wagging tail and keep going!
Moderation of Treats
If your pet’s waistline is expanding, too many calories per day are the culprit. These calories can come in the form of pet food, table scraps, or too many treats. Feeding guidelines (i.e., portions) do not assume outside treats, which should, in any case, only make up 10% of your pet’s diet.
Eliminating table scraps is a good first step, since those calories can add up fast. After that, find your Pet Wants and talk to your Nutritional Specialist about the different types of treats that are available. Fresh and nutritious pet food, wholesome treats, and housemade jerky are a great combination to developing an individualized weight loss plan for your pet.
In some cases, a medical condition could be affecting your pet’s health, so always work closely with your veterinarian for your pet’s health.