Monday, November 8, 2010

Obesity in Pets

Just like people, pets become "a little too healthy." Obese pets can have serious health problems including arthritis, heat and respiratory problems, and shorter life spans. Your pet is overweight if you cannot feel his ribs or backbone when you lightly run your hands over him. Although it is hard to ignore the pleading eyes of your adoring pet, it is best to turn away and not give in to his pleas for more food.

In order to avoid over feeding it is best to use the feeding guides only as a recommendation. Pet food packages will often recommend how much to feed your pet. However it really depends on your pet's age, activity level, and size. It is always best to use your own judgment.

Try not to use the "free-feed" method. In other words, resist leaving food out for your pet all day long. This can be a big contributor to overeating.

It is also important to provide your pet with plenty of exercise. Take him our for an extra little walk or play with her in the house for a little bit each day. Every little bit helps.

Make sure you check severe weight loss or gain with your vet. If you think you are feeding your pet adequately but he loses weight, or your pet suddenly starts gaining weight, it is best to consult your vet.

Older and overweight pets may need to be switched to special diets. There are lots of high-quality pet food formulated especially for senior pets, as well as plenty of low-calorie diets. You may want to consult with your vet for recommendations.

Most importantly with the holidays approaching, resist the urge to feed your pet table scraps.