Obesity is a condition defined by an excess of body fat that has developed to the point that health is compromised. Although we often hear the term in relation to humans, pet obesity is one of the key welfare issues facing pets in the UK today.
According to the PDSA Pet Animal Welfare Report 2018, 98% of veterinary professionals surveyed said that more focus should be placed on preventing obesity rather than treating it. So we’ve put together this list of five easy ways to help your pet maintain a healthy weight.
1) Calculate how much to feed
Just like humans, pets require a certain amount of energy per day to maintain their weight. And also like humans, this figure will be unique to them. How much food your pet should consume could depend on factors such as life stage, activity levels and any concurrent health problems. The guidelines on pet food packaging are exactly that; guidelines. Ask your vet to help you work out the right amount of food to feed your pet.
2) Stick to it
Once you’ve calculated how much food to feed your pet to maintain a healthy weight, measure it out daily to make sure you don’t go over. To maintain a healthy weight, a pet’s diet needs to be consistent. Stick to set mealtimes rather than leaving food out all day. In a busy household, it’s easy to top up an empty feeding bowl without realising somebody else did exactly the same thing an hour ago.
3) Treats are treats
In moderation, treats are ok. However, problems can occur when treats are no longer treats and instead become the daily norm, or a way to show a pet that you love them. Any treats given should correspond with a reduction in regular food quantities. Chat to your veterinary team about which treats to use and try out some healthy ones.
4) Exercise everyday
The physical benefits of an active lifestyle are endless; from improving muscular and cardiovascular fitness to alleviating stress, boredom and anxiety. So when it comes to showing affection to our pets, exercise should be an obvious choice. Pets love spending time with their owners and exercise is great way to do this.
5) Preventing problems
Prevention is always better than cure and the easiest way to provide your pet with the best chance of a long and happy life is to keep on top of their preventive healthcare. Regular health checks with the vet will ensure that your pet’s weight is monitored regularly and that any health issues or concerns are picked up early before problems arise.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s weight or health in general, you should always speak to your veterinary team.