The Link Between Pet Obesity and Exercise

With pet obesity numbers skyrocketing (over half of all cats and dogs!), it’s critical to not only measure precise meal portions, but to keep a daily exercise routine, as well.

pet obesityAnimals love to eat as much as we do. Some like to snack throughout the day – and relish every bite – while others enjoy scarfing down their meals in a single gulp (only to beg for more). Free-feeding doesn’t always result in an overweight pet, but when pets consume more calories than they need on a daily basis, weight gain is guaranteed. With pet obesity numbers skyrocketing (over half of all cats and dogs!), it’s critical to not only measure precise meal portions, but to keep a daily exercise routine, as well.

Connect the Dots

Pet obesity is linked to various illnesses, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Because it decreases overall health and wellness, excessive weight affects life expectancy. The good news? It’s 100% preventable!

The Reality

Most pet owners caring for overweight or obese pets perceive their pets as being at a normal weight. Some pet owners may not realize what their pet’s optimal weight is, but this pet weight check guide provides a lot of guidance on the subject. Being able to feel the ribs, see an hourglass figure when looking down at the length of the back, and seeing an obvious tuck of the abdomen are excellent markers for ideal weight.

Counting Calories

The best defense against pet obesity is a two-fold approach. It’s absolutely vital to maintain proper nutrition for your pet’s breed, species, age, and lifestyle. Use this Calorie Counter to ensure your pet’s current weight is commensurate with portion size. Changing your pet’s diet and caloric intake can have surprising results; we’re happy to help you with this.

If you offer snacks, alter your pet’s meal portions. Try raw fruits and fresh veggies (but never raisins/grapes, onions, garlic, and more).

Have Fun!

The second component has to do with daily exercise. If your usual routine borders on the mundane, take your dog to new places to get into an exciting exercise flow. Also, take them wherever you go to keep them moving throughout the day. Many places are becoming “pet-friendly.” Introduce them to new friends and keep them active as much as possible between meals.

Cats who spend most/all of their time indoors can benefit from a “catio” or an enclosed outdoor space. Keep their interests in mind (jumping, chasing, climbing, scratching, etc.) when designing and constructing this enclosure to maximize activity levels.

Reversing Pet Obesity

Pet obesity is preventable, but when it’s recognized, diagnosed, and handled correctly, it’s reversible. Make sure to keep your pet’s routine wellness exams every 6-12 months. If there are any changes to your pet’s weight (even slight ones), we can step in right away to prevent obesity-related problems down the road.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to us at The Bluffs Pet Clinic of Red Wing.