Does your dog or cat have trouble getting around? Does his or her stomach hang down from its abdomen? Does your pet get tired easily when it plays? And finally, barring all other health problems, does your dog or cat become overheated easily? If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, then you may well have a problem with overweight cats and dogs.
To make sure you have overweight cats and dogs, there’s a test you can perform on your pet. Stand him or her in front of you. Use your fingers and try to feel its ribs through its skin. You should be able to find your pet’s ribs without feeling around too much. Now, if you have overweight cats and dogs, you won’t be able to feel your pet’s hip bones either.
And finally, does your cat or dog have a “waistline?” This means, at the back of the rib cage, there should be a hollow spot. If the answer to this last question is “No, it’s stomach takes up that space”, then you have overweight cats and dogs.
You may think your cat or dog is just “healthy looking.” Or, you may be like me and say, “She’s just a big girl by nature!” But the truth is, after taking a good, honest look at your pet, you’ll know the truth.
Just like with human beings, overweight cats and dogs tend to experience more health problems than their thin counterparts. Some examples of these problems include Feline or Canine Diabetes, joint pain, and heart problems.
You can help your overweight cats and dogs by first talking to your veterinarian. He or she should give your pet a thorough examination to make sure he or she isn’t overweight because of a health condition. Then, confer with your vet to find out what your cat or dog should actually weigh.
Next, check the packages of pet food you’re giving your cat or dog. Are you feeding them the right amount? Or, are you overfeeding your pet? Research has actually determined that cats and dogs who are allowed to eat as much food as they want, often suffer the consequences of being overweight.
You can even buy “diet” style cat and dog foods. These foods are lower in fat and calories.
If you find that you’re actually overfeeding your cat or dog, gradually reduce the amount of food over a month’s time. Then, once you’re feeding your overweight cat or dog the correct amount of food, watch to make sure you or another family member don’t overfeed them again.
If you have been giving your cat or dog table scraps or treats, you’ll need to cut these extra calories out until they reach their ideal weight. And even then, they shouldn’t eat table scraps. And treats should be kept to a minimum.
It’s possible that you haven’t been overfeeding your overweight cat and dog at all. Maybe he or she just isn’t getting enough exercise to burn off calories. In this case, you can take your dogs for walks. Buy some toys for your cats and encourage them to play with them.
Don’t expect your overweight cat or dog to drop those excess pounds overnight! It took time for them to gain the weight, and it will take time for them to lose it too.
Before you place your overweight cats and dogs on a diet, write their current weight down on a calendar. Then, check on your pets’ progress every week. Weigh your cats and dogs and mark their new weights on the calendar.