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“An Estimated 59% of Cats and 54% of Dogs in the United States are Overweight or Obese.” -The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention

Pet obesity is a problem here in the United States. I would say about 50% of the pets I encounter are overweight or obese…Let that sink in, 50%, and I only see or work with less than 1% of the pet population.  Astronomical!!

Pet’s that are overweight or obese can develop several health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, joint issues, breathing difficulties, heart complications, cancers, and more. Not to mention, your pet really can’t do what they enjoy due to body limitations.

So I know of some of ya’ll are in denial about your pet being overweight…try this simple test and be honest with yourself for about 30 seconds: Can you see or feel your pet’s ribs digging into their sides? If your answer is no, then your furry friend may need some help.

Photo Credit: Rick Woodford

The first step of getting your pet to a healthy weight is giving them quality and balanced food. Stop feeding them ‘Ol Roy or Meow Mix! If the first ingredient in your pet’s food is some kind of meal or carbohydrate then don’t buy it, its garbage. And yes, garbage is the nice term. The first ingredient in your pet’s food should be a whole ingredient, it should be a protein such as chicken for cats and dogs; don’t get chicken confused with chicken-meal, they’re completely different parts of the bird. Your pet’s food should be properly balanced and not consist of mostly fillers. A site that I have found helpful on my pet food journey is: www.dogfoodadvisor.com The website breaks down each component for you and provides ratings to identify the best foods for your fur baby.

The second step is providing physical exercise. If your pet is not used to exercising then please introduce it slowly and a little at a time. Exercise will vary depending on the pet you have. Get creative with it and start having your pet work different parts of his or her body to build muscle strength and to burn calories. Exercise is pretty self-explanatory, but if you find yourself stumped – feel free to contact us for specific exercises geared towards your pet.

Ideal pet weight should allow your pet complete freedom to move easily, prevent future joint issues (if not genetic), and keep the risk of disease rather low. If you do happen to have a pet on the heavier side then ask yourself what you could do better to provide your pet with the best life. Fat pets are not happy pets, be your pet’s advocate!!