Most of the time, maintaining our pet's weight is in our control.
As with people in the U.S., well over half our pets (cats & dogs) are overweight. Some pets may have an underlying health condition that predisposes them to gain weight, so at least 1 physical checkup annually can help identify a health issue, and if your pet has developed a health condition, working with your vet to manage that condition is critical.
In general, managing our furkid's weight is in our control. Smart choices, like portion controlling food AND providing regular exercise are as important for your pet as they are for your own weight management. Veterinarians & nutritionists who develop pet diets are experts in advising the correct feeding size based on an animal's weight. So whatever type of diet you choose, follow the recommendations printed on the label of your pet's food. Here are a few other tips if your pet needs to shed some pounds:
1) If Buddy is a senior, he's probably less active & will require fewer calories. Perhaps our all-natural 5 Calorie Superfood Dog Treats could help?
2) Certain breeds, like beagles & basset hounds, gain weight more easily. You can stimulate a pet's metabolism by shifting to smaller, more frequent eating - like the human version of "grazing." A simple trick is to reserve part of each meal & then feed a few pieces throughout the day or night as "treats"
3) Calories matter! In 2014, AAFCO began regulatory procedures on pet food manufacturers requiring calories on food labels so pet foods show calories on labels. Other products, like snacks, chews, cookies & supplements are not required to list calories on the label, but most manufacturers will provide it on request. Knowing how many calories your pet gets daily is key to managing his weight.
Based on your pet's current age, weight & body condition, PetMD has a healthy weight calculator to help you determine your pet's ideal weight. Dr. Becker at Mercola's Healthy Pets provides formulas to calculate the calories your cat or dog requires daily to maintain current weight - and she provides more detail on tips for healthy weight loss.
4) A general rule of thumb for approaching weight reduction is to decrease food volume by 10% and monitor results. So, if your pet gets 1 cup per meal, decrease by 1 1/2 tablespoon (per meal). To be safe, check with your vet because age, breed, type of diet & other issues are relevant.
Managing Buddy's weight over his life pays off by helping him maintain overall health, happiness and comfort that is likely to increase his longevity.
Have a Naturally Beautiful Day! 😍