A Healthy New Year: Tackling Pet Obesity in 2018

A dog looking at a treat on a countertopIt probably comes as no surprise that the most popular New Year’s resolution is to get healthy or lose weight. Many of us could stand to eat a little better and move more, and the same could probably be said for our animal companions.

The rise in pet obesity rates over the past several years have corresponded to an uptick in health concerns, namely heart disease, high blood pressure, joint/mobility issues, cancer, and reduced life expectancy. At Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital, we are committed to helping you every step of the way as you strive to keep your pet at a healthy weight.

Focusing on Food to Treat Pet Obesity

Although today’s pets are living longer than ever before, they are also heavier than previous generations of pets and suffer from chronic diseases. Fortunately, many obesity-related illnesses and conditions can be prevented through proper nutrition. Consider the following:

  • Portion control is just as important for pets as it is for people! Work with your veterinarian to determine the right amount of food for your pet, and measure out each portion. Setting regular mealtimes also helps to control the amount of food your pet is taking in.
  • Limiting treats is essential when it comes to managing pet obesity. Even small treats can quickly add up in terms of daily calories. Break treats in half, or try small pieces of pet safe fruits and vegetables for a healthy, low-calorie alternative to traditional pet treats.
  • Eating slowly can have a positive impact on a pet’s weight, especially for pets who tend to quickly gobble their food. Slow feeder bowls and puzzle feeders are great ways to encourage pets to slow down when eating.

Get Moving

It’s no secret that exercise is a major factor in weight control. Try the following ideas to provide your pet with essential daily exercise:

  • Walk/hike
  • Games like fetch, tug-of-war, and hide-and-seek
  • Feather chase or laser pointer
  • Cardboard boxes, cat trees, and other climbing structures (essential for indoor kitties)

You can also give pets the opportunity to practice their innate hunting skills by hiding pieces of kibble for them to find during mealtimes (and to discourage eating too quickly).

The Bottom Line

When it comes to pet obesity, sometimes we are our own worst enemy. It’s easy to forgo the daily walk when you’re tired or busy, and resisting the temptation to give in to a begging pet can be challenging indeed. Your steadfast commitment to your pet’s health is essential in the fight against pet obesity.

Please feel free to reach out to the staff at Rocklin Ranch with your questions and concerns!

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