How to keep your pet at a healthy weight

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Pet obesity is a major health concern: more than half of all cats and dogs around the world are overweight or obese.Understanding the danger behind this disease can help owners find efficient ways to manage and even prevent it.  


1.Being aware of the danger of pet obesity

Like humans, obesity is at epidemic levels in dogs and cats and it can even shorten the lifespan of our beloved pets by up to two and a half years. An increasing issue, pet obesity is linked to other serious diseases like pancreatitis, diabetes, heart disease, disc disease, ruptured cruciate ligaments, hip dysplasia and other forms of joint disease, surgical complications, compromised immune system, and even many forms of cancer.


As many as half of all dogs in the U.S. are overweight, but the majority of their owners are in denial. Because we're so used to seeing overweight dogs, many folks think a dog at his proper weight is too skinny. However, as long as the hips and spine are not protruding and no more than the last rib or two are slightly visible, he's not too thin. If in doubt, ask your vet for an opinion, or go to an agility competition to see what fit dogs look like.


But with pet obesity on the rise throughout the pandemic, it has become an increasingly necessary one. What's more, ongoing COVID19 restrictions and kerbside consults could be making an already sensitive topic even harder to address. It's important that pet owners keep a closer eye on their pets'weight and take proactive steps to reduce the risk of pet obesity.


2.Keeping your eye on the right feed amount

To do the weight management and keep those extra pounds off, it's important to understand what is considered normal food intake for your pet so you can avoid overfeeding. How much you should feed your dog or cat depends on a number of factors, including their breed, daily activity, age, target body weight, and type of food. You can follow the food manufacturer's recommendations found on the back of the food bag or can and discuss them with your veterinarian.


Make sure all the members of your household know the proper amount to feed each day and be careful not to feed too many treats. Table scraps can easily boost a cat or a dog's necessary calorie intake and can even be toxic for pets.


Weigh your pet regularly (once a month) to keep track of your pet's weight.


3. Picking up the best types of dog food

In simple terms, excess body weight is caused by a dog getting more calories than needed. Dogs store these excess calories as fat. So when it comes to weight loss, the ratio of carbohydrates to fats and protein matters more than calories do.


The truth is that protein and carbohydrates supply the same number of calories, but protein is preferentially used to build lean muscle, while carbs are more likely to be stored as body fat. L-carnitine, an amino acid derivative found in meat, fish, and dairy products, helps to burn fat.

Most prescription weight loss diets are excessively high in carbohydrates and low in both fat and protein. The same is true of many commercial weight loss diets, though some companies have recognized that this is not the best way to help dogs to lose weight and have changed their tactics.Dogs thrive on a high-protein diet, which builds lean muscle, and they don't need carbohydrates at all.


Fat has more than twice the calories per gram of protein or carbs, so the amount you feed should be limited. Fat, however, is also what satisfies the appetite best. A diet that is too low in fat will leave your dog feeling hungry all the time, making it harder for you to stick to the diet plan and potentially leading to food-stealing or even poop-eating. It’s better to feed a diet with moderate fat and reduce the portion size as needed rather than feeding a low-fat diet.


The ideal canine weight-loss diet is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and moderate in fat, which satisfies the appetite.


4.Exercising your pet

Regular exercise is also an essential component of a successful weight-loss program. Proper exercise not only burns calories, but also helps to convert fat into muscle, improving body condition. Furthermore,the animals wanted the exercise for the intrigue of it, the joy of it. And, quite possibly, for the stress relief it provided them.


According to Pet Insight Project research, adult dogs averaging more than 60 minutes of daily activity were less than 50% chances of becoming overweight or obese compared to dogs that were less active.Don't increase the food as you start increasing exercise. However, you should reduce food slightly if for any reason you reduce your dog's exercise.


If you're a cat owner, here are a few tips to help keep your cat active at home:

Engaging cats in 20-30 second games-perhaps during commercial breaks when you're watching TV-is enough to tip the scales of energy balance in the right direction. Making them a regular part of everyday life is the best way to create a new routine.

Try different activity feeders (balls, mazes, and towers) to find the one that fits your cat's dexterity level.

Vary where you put the feeders and which one you fill up at each meal to make mealtime a scavenger hunt.

Train them to play fetch with a toy so their hunting and pouncing instincts stay sharp.

Switch to dangling toys to capture their attention, so cats can also play when you're not there.