After the holidays , people rush in fitness centers in an attempt to get back in shape . And how about your pets ?
Some statistics show that nearly 50% of our dogs and cats are overweight. 25% of our pets are downright obese. Nearly half of pet owners rarely or never follow the recommended quantities to be fed on the packaging of pet food. Worse, 38% of Canadians do not even know the ideal weight for their animals . With such statistics, it is easy to understand why obesity is so common in pets.
Just as in humans , obesity has many harmful effects on animals. Obese animals are less likely to play and exercise and longevity is shorter than that of healthy animals . The list of harmful effects of obesity in animals is long: increased incidence of type II diabetes, cancer, skin problems, joint, heart and so on. Animals healthy and physically fit live longer , are happier and enjoy life more .
The first thing to do before trying to put your pet on a diet is to accept that your pet is obese and secondly that it may be damaging to its health. You need to take dieting seriously otherwise it will fail. Once this step is completed , you should know that the goal of any weight loss diet is to reduce caloric intake ( less food ) and increase energy expenditure ( exercise more ) . Nothing new.
Initially, your pet should be weighed and we must determine how much he must lose and the time frame. If you are unsure of the weight that your pet must lose , talk to your veterinarian. Your pet should receive a real reduced diet. Divide the daily diet suggested by your veterinarian, in three or four small meals . Keep your pet out of the kitchen and the dining room when you prepare food or when you eat, because it is at these times that the animals tend to beg and receive treats. All treats, including dog or cat cookies and leftovers should be prohibited for any animal trying to lose weight. For a dog of ten pounds, one cookie is the equivalent of a hamburger for a human . Imagine all the excess empty calories that are ingested by a dog when an owner gives him 3-4 in a day …
In addition to monitoring food every day , make sure your animal is taking out for a walk at least two periods of 15 to 20 minutes each day. Even in winter . Cats also need exercise . They need at least two periods of 15 minutes per day. During the time of the diet, closely monitor the weight of your pet. Weigh him each week and write the weight on a chart. Weighing should always occur at the same time of day , preferably before meals.
Once the target weight loss is achieved, the dieting should be replaced by a maintenance plan, if not your pet will continue to lose weight. Otherwise , if you start to give him a diet rich in calories or give him treats , expect the yo-yo effect . It’s frustrating .
To make sure that your pet doesn’t gain weight , do not give him treats in between meals and make sure he’s doing enough exercise everyday. Also continue to weigh and keep your chart up to date and only give him foods that are low in calories . Finally, many of our pets have a way to make us feel guilty… especially when we put them on a diet, but tell yourself that it is because you love them that we do it. Besides, why don’t you follow a healthy diet yourself? You would get all the same benefits as your pet! Everyone wins!