At the beginning of each New Year, we make resolutions to improve the quality of our lives. With the best of intentions, we promise ourselves to eat better or to lose weight. While we are making these resolutions for ourselves, there is no reason why we can’t extend these affirmations to our pets.
One of the most common problems veterinarians encounter during a pet’s exam is that of the overweight patient. Most of these cases are animals that are slightly overweight; however, even being slightly overweight can contribute to complications such as respiratory issues, arthritis, cardiovascular problems and diabetes. Evaluating your pet’s weight is a rather simple procedure. One should be able to feel the ribs when gently rubbing the side of the chest and there should be a visible waist between the last rib and the hips.
Like people, an animal’s nutritional requirements change over time. With this in mind, our feeding habits should change as well. I am often asked “how much should I feed my dog or cat?” Like people, the amount of food depends on the animal’s age, their weight, their activity level and their specific metabolism. Many cases of weight gain are not the result of overfeeding but rather “over treating.” Treats composed of “human food” are typically high in calories and/or high in fat. Even a few treats in a day can affect your pet’s weight. The best food you can feed your pet is food that is specifically designed
for your pet.
So, as you make those New Year resolutions, think about including all of your family members – especially the furry ones!