Weighty Pet Matters
Should your doggie be on a diet? Is your feline getting fat? Obesity is dangerous for your pet. Here are a few tips to help you keep the bulge at bay.
Overweight increases health risks.
Sound familiar? Just like humans, extra pounds your dog or cat carries cause his or her cardiovascular and respiratory systems to have to work harder. And while humans can arguably manage with a couple of extra pounds, a dog or cat—smaller and slighter than a human—experiences more dramatic effects. Just a pound or two may increase health issues like:
It’s pretty easy to see if your cat or dog is obese. We all know we shouldn’t see stomach protruding on either side when you see him or her from the front or back. It’s not that hard to figure out whether or not your dog or cat is in a normal weight range.
Start with the waist.
The best way to check is to stand up with your dog standing between your knees—your cat between your ankles. Don’t squeeze or anything, just get in a stable position so you can look down and see your pet’s form.
Carefully lean over and feel along the ribs. They shouldn’t be sticking out, but you should be able to easily feel them under a slight layer of fat. From your position above him or her, you should be able to see a slight indentation. Run your hands along the ribs and notice how his or her body goes in slightly right after the rib cage ends.
Do a fat check.
So far, it’s been fun; now it gets a little ticklish if your dog is—and probably even trickier with your cat. Look for fatty deposits on the base of his or her tail, in the groin area of the hindquarters, and any rounding on the sides of or underneath the belly.
Visit your vet.
If you think your dog or cat may be overweight, have him or her checked out by your veterinarian. Once you’ve ruled out any medical problems, you and the doc can talk about the ideal weight and how to maintain it.
Eat less and exercise more.
Surprise! Your dog or cat’s weight loss plan should include:
Helping your pet maintain a good weight will improve his or her quality of life and help prevent disease, and it could prolong the time you get to spend together. More lifetime equals more lap time, right?
Take a walk with your dog. Around the neighborhood, around the track, to the park and back—however you decide to go for it, make sure your dog gets adequate, regular, consistent exercise. It’s the best thing for his waistline and for your relationship. And, who knows, you may drop a few pounds, too.
Sources: www.pedigree.com/Overcoming-Canine-Obesity; www.whiskas.com/Weighing-in-on-Fat-Cats; Purina® Animal Instincts podcast series. Learn more at www.purina.com.
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