An overweight pet is at a higher risk for several health problems than a pet that is within a normal weight range. Diabetes, arthritis, skin problems, respiratory problems and even some cancers are health issues that dogs and cats have that can be directly related to them being overweight. Pet behavior problems can also result from a dog or cat being overweight. An overweight dog is more apt to develop arthritis and bite the hand that touches a sore, painful joint. An overweight cat may have difficulty fitting into the litter box and ‘go’ in an unacceptable location. Help overweight pets lose weight with these diet tips.
Don’t Put Overweight Pets on Crash Diet
Just as crash diets are not healthy weight loss plans for humans, so they are for overweight pets too. A crash diet will rob the dog or cat of vital nutrients and could be potentially fatal for cats by causing liver damage. Start the pet’s diet by reducing the amount of daily food by one-fourth and swap fattening treats for healthy treats, like baby carrots or apple slices.
Feed Overweight Pets at Scheduled Times, But in Different Locations
Set a daily feeding schedule for a dog or cat, but place the food in different locations so the overweight pet has to sniff it out. This will provide the overweight pet with some exercise and fulfill the natural hunting instinct. Pet toys designed to hold kibble and make the pet ‘work’ for their food or placing the food at the top or bottom of a stair case will help the overweight pet lose weight and get some exercise.
Show Love Without Food
Pet owners often feel they are showing their pets love through the food and treats they give, which leads to pets becoming overweight. Find alternative ways to show love, such as walking or playing with the pet, that do not involve food. Exercise or interactive play also helps pets and pet owners bond with each other. Start a pet exercise program out slowly and ban the overweight pet from the kitchen or family dining room during meal time.
Overweight pets can be (and should be) placed on a diet to help them shed the excess weight for their health’s sake, but the pet diet plan must be a sensible, long-term healthy eating plan that will allow them to gradually lose weight while getting proper nutrition.