Keep weight problems at bay for your pet
« I have an overabundance of love for my pet, and his diet is proportionate to the amount of affection I have for him! »
Did you know that failing to keep tabs on your pet’s eating habits can increase the risk of health issues and impact your animal’s quality of life?
Overfeeding your pet or giving them an unbalanced or unhealthy diet can lead to weight gain, obesity and starvation. Other potential direct consequences include diabetes, cardiovascular illness, joint problems caused by excess weight, ruptured cruciate ligaments and severe arthritic pain. Overfeeding can also lead to a decrease in liveliness and reduced interest in play.
For both cats and dogs, a healthy lifestyle, meaning proper nutrition and regular exercise, will help maintain physical and psychological health.
Here are a few tips to help keep weight problems at bay for your pet:
- Give them the amount of food prescribed by the manufacturer on the packaging. Disperse this quantity across several meals. It is important that the animal not eat at will.
- Make sure they get regular exercise – walking, running and playing. Doing so will also keep you active and allow you to spend some quality time with your pet.
- Don’t overlook the quantity of food – this has a direct impact on your pet’s health and weight. We wouldn’t recommend that you eat fast food three times a day – and the same goes for your pet!
- Pay close attention to the number of treats your pet is being given. Giving them a small piece has the same effect as giving them a large piece! If a number of people in your home are giving the animal treats, make sure you establish a maximum daily dose!
- Spoil your pet, but don’t harm them. Hugs and games are also effective ways of rewarding them. Leftovers, scraps of toast, and small and large treats all add calories to a meal. Receiving food from a number of people will contribute to the overfeeding of your dog or cat.
- During your regular check-up with your vet, discuss the physical and mental condition of your pet. Health professionals can help adjust diet according to their individual needs.
- Be very careful when preparing food at home! It can be tricky to establish a healthy diet without running the risk of starving your pet. Our pets’ nutritional needs are not the same as our own.
As is the case for humans, a healthy lifestyle means proper nutrition and regular exercise. Our pets need it just as much for their own health and happiness.
Dr. Vincent Paradis, Director of Clinical Care and Clinical Veterinarian
Vincent has been director of Clinical Care since 2012. In addition to his role as director, he is also president of the Québec Association of Veterinarians and Rescue Doctors (l’Association vétérinaire québécois de médecine de refuge).