According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, in 2017, more than 56 percent of pet dogs were overweight or obese and 60 percent of cats fell in the same category.
Owners must ensure their pets maintain healthy diets and remain active to avoid putting their animals at risk of developing serious diseases.
Here are a few questions the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention suggests asking your pet's veterinarian.
Is my pet overweight?
To determine if a lifestyle overhaul is required, you should discuss if your pet is at a healthy weight. This can be a touchy subject in most offices, as some professionals will be hesitant to hurt your feelings by suggesting your furry friend is unhealthy. Don't be offended if you receive an honest answer you don't want to hear.
A healthy weight is one of the largest factors of longevity, quality of life and prevention of disease. Fortunately, it is usually an easy process to discover if an animal needs to cut out the snacks or spend extra time exercising. Typically, a few measurements and a comparison on a body condition test will reveal the correct steps to take to achieve an ideal weight.
How many calories should my pet consume?
This answer may be more difficult to answer. The correct number will largely depend on a pet's diet, exercise habits and weight. Once a veterinarian determines a healthy amount, calorie tracking can be extremely helpful to stay within proper levels. Consider using an app where you can manually enter different caloric content and track your pet's progress.
What kinds of exercises are correct?
Once your pet has been deemed obese or overweight, a strict exercise regimen should be incorporated. A veterinarian will be able to tell you which types of activities will be most effective by breed, size and age. Especially for senior pets, it's crucial to stick to their recommendations as overexerting them can be dangerous.