There’s no doubt about it: Pet obesity can be cute. Just look at the enduring popularity of a certain overweight cat who loves lasagna and hates Mondays, if you have any doubts about our collective obsession with pudgy pets.
Not so cute? The fact that those extra pounds in our dogs and cats have been shown to have detrimental effects on quality of life (at best) and can actually shorten their lives (at worst.) It’s in everyone’s best interests to entice our overweight pets to slim down. But how to do it? How do you start a fluffy feline on a weight-loss program? How do you get your pudgy pooch off the sofa and on to the sidewalk?
These are good questions that any pet parent might have. Luckily, this Diamond Pet Foods Guide to Your Overweight Pets has a few answers. Read on for advice on how pet owners can get your overweight pet a new lease on life and you can get a handle on pet obesity.
IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN WEIGHT AND LONGEVITY IN DOGS?
People live such long lives that it’s nearly impossible to study humans across an entire life span, meaning that it can be hard to examine exactly what part of a person’s life impacted another. But that fact got some researchers thinking (as they do): Since dogs have a much shorter span, maybe we could track their entire lifespan to better understand what affects that lifespan?
This is why researchers conducted a 14-year study following 48 Labrador retrievers throughout their entire lives. One of the vital takeaways about the lives of America’s most popular breeds? Keeping dogs lean can add nearly 2 years to their life spans. That’s howling good news.
EXTRA WEIGHT? EXTRA RISKS TO YOUR PET’S HEALTH
It’s somewhat obvious that extra weight is associated with many issues that put your dog’s health at risk. But what flies under the radar is how those conditions can also affect his or her general lifestyle. Pet owners whose dogs successfully lose weight have said that their canine companions had improved vitality and emotional well-being and decreased pain.
HELPING YOUR PUDGY POOCH PURGE POUNDS
If you have an overweight dog, there could be any number of reasons for the extra poundage. Maybe they just like to sneak snacks. Or maybe they have never been given the opportunity to exercise the way they need to. Regardless, if helping your overweight dog get healthier is on your to-do list but you’re not sure where to begin, we’ve identified seven steps to help you get started.
START BOOSTING ACTIVITY TO HELP YOUR OVERWEIGHT DOG LOSE WEIGHT
Weight loss takes commitment and a shift in mindset. But how do you get your dog to change their mindset and see the error of their overweight ways? It can seem too daunting to even start getting overweight dogs on a weight-loss program after years of tail-wagging weight gain. But as challenging as it may seem, the reality is that losing excess weight and body fat and improving fitness can add more years to your dog’s life and more life to those extra years. And getting started at losing weight? It’s as easy as stepping outside.
WHY (OR IS) MY CAT FAT?
Veterinarians consider an estimated 60 percent of American cats to be overweight or obese. That makes excessive body weight the most common feline health problem. Fat cats aren’t the outlier; they’re the majority.
But how do you know if your cat is overweight or just extra fluffy? Figuring out your cat’s ideal weight can be challenging because there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But it helps if you start with the knowledge that the number on the scale doesn’t necessarily tell you what you need to know.
DOES OVERWEIGHT ALWAYS MEAN UNHEALTHY?
We’ve already established that fat cats seem fun. For every lean, attack-every-dust-bunny kitty out there, there’s a big-boned buddy who brightens your day simply by taking up the entire couch. So we’re often asked: Is it really that bad for my cat to be fat?
The quick and easy answer? Yes, overweight and obese cats are at risk for health problems. But some research suggests some extra weight may not always be such a bad thing. Intrigued?
FIVE TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR CAT ON A WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRAM
It’s hard to get a cat to do anything they don’t want to do. So if your overweight cat has already spent years avoiding exercise, you might have trouble forcing them to do a couch-to-five-K. But there’s more than one way to start a weight-loss journey for your cat! You can start with a diet. (Yes, we know that this also doesn’t sound ideal.)
Switching a cat’s food in any way can be challenging, frustrating and even annoying. A fussy feline might want to be fed the same mount if the same food at the same time, every day. Any change to the routine can cause begging, meowing, pestering. And even more than before! It’s no surprise these behaviors cause many cat owners to give up and give in. And it’s a good reason why pet obesity is so prevalent.
So here are five tips that can make your overweight cat’s transition to a weight management program and diet a little bit easier.
DIETING IN A MULTI-CAT HOUSEHOLD
Helping your overweight kitty lose weight can be challenging, even when you have only one cat. What if you have several cats but only one needs to lose weight? How do you feed multiple cats different foods or amounts, especially if they have different eating styles? We have some suggestions.
Talking about the reality of your obese dog or cat’s weight can be tough for many reasons. It’s hard to say no to those furry faces when they’re begging at the dinner table, and it can be even harder to force your chubby pup or tubby tabby off your lap or out the door for some sun and/or exercise. But studies have shown that overweight pets are better off being normal-weight pets. And that’s why Diamond Pet Foods is here to help. For more information about all things related to pet obesity and your dog or cat, bookmark that section of our blog, found here.