It can be difficult to admit that your pet has gone from being a little tubby to being downright overweight. But the truth is, even just a few extra pounds make a big difference when it comes to a pet’s overall health, and heavier pets have a greater chance of developing diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure. If your dog or cat could stand to lose a couple pounds, here are five pet weight loss tips to help them slim down–and maybe even drop a few pounds yourself!
Sure, you take your dog out for walks. But when was the last time you and Spot took a jog together? If your vet has cleared your pup for strenuous activity, try incorporating a few blocks of jogging into your daily routine. You’ll build endurance, and maybe even discover a new hobby.
Incorporate new toys
We’ve never met a cat who doesn’t love to chase a laser pointer. Just five to ten minutes of high-energy play per day can make a big difference for cats, whose main M.O. sometimes seems to be to move as little as possible. Remember–if you didn’t feed her every day, your cat would have to work for her food, burning major calories.
Don’t be fooled by “diet” foods
Think about what animals eat in the wild. Mostly protein, right? But “diet” dog and cat foods often contain low-calorie, high-carbohydrate fillers that your pet burns through quickly, only to get hungry again in a few hours. Instead of feeding diet food, feed high-quality, high-protein food in measured amounts two to four times a day. Stick to a strict feeding schedule–no table scraps between meals!
Try new things
About 40% of American adults say they don’t do any physical activity in their free time. So it’s no surprise that our pets get plump! Make a commitment to try something new, and take your pet along for the ride. Go for a swim at the beach or lake. Ride a bike while your dog runs alongside you. Explore a new part of town–preferably one with a lot of hills.
Monitor your progress
The scale doesn’t lie, and for pets just a few ounces of weight loss is a good indicator of progress. Check with your vet about doing monthly or bi-monthly weigh-ins to keep the two of you on track. Stick a calendar on the fridge to track your feeding schedule. Whatever works to keep you honest!
Remember: the key to your pet losing weight is that she burns more calories than she consumes. By combining a healthy diet with increased physical activity, the pounds will slowly but surely begin to disappear.