Weight Loss

 
 
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Weight Loss

 

Obesity in dogs and cats can be linked with several health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Most often obesity in dogs and cats is caused by over feeding and/or lack of exercise.

DOGS

1) Measure food and ration amount fed: A general recommendation is to decrease the amount of dog food you are currently feeding by 25% (one quarter). This amount may be replaced with canned/frozen (unsalted) green beans. In addition, please limit the treats given. Healthier treats, such as carrots, apple slices, green beans, peas, rice cakes, etc may be given. Please do NOT give your dog any grapes, raisins, onions, fruit/vegetable pits, or nuts. It is also important that your pet not receive any table scraps. It is important everyone in the household follows the rules! If your pet constantly is hungry, you may find it helpful to split the daily ration into several smaller meals. Please note that some pets may need more specific guidelines as far as calorie intake; we can help you to determine this.

2) In addition, we recommend dogs receive regular exercise. There are several ways you can increase your dog's activity

-Daily walks: Please start with a 1/2 mile walk once a day (or as much as your pet can reasonably tolerate) and slowly increase the distance, such as to a 1 mile walk one to two times a day.

-Take your dog swimming (if weather permits). Remember to slowly increase the amount your pet swims so they are fit enough. This is especially ideal for dogs with arthritis, who need lower weight bearing activities

-Play fetch, Frisbee, etc daily with your dog

3) Use slow feeders and food puzzles to feed your dog. Feeding your dog all of their meals from a Kong, food puzzle, or slow feeder can slow their eating and keep them more entertained. You may place their food in the toy, or you can consider adding small amounts of water to moisten the food, and then even add a small amount of peanut butter to the end to hold the food in, then place this in the freezer and once frozen give to your dog. This will make the food last longer! You can even make a game of hiding their food and treats throughout the house and teaching them to find them!

 

4) Log and monitor weight loss: It is also important that your pet not lose weight too rapidly. They should ideally loose 1-2% of their body weight each week (1-2 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight per week). You may bring your pet here or weight them at home monthly. It is important to track their weights so we ensure your pet is not losing weight too quickly or is losing adequate amounts of weight. You may find it helpful to keep a log of feedings, weight loss, activity, etc. There are online weight loss resources such as Purina, Science Diet, and the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

 

5) Keep in touch with us! Please let us know how your weight loss program is progressing. If your pet is not losing weight, then we may need to see them again to ensure they do not have a medical condition preventing them from losing weight. And if your pet is losing weight, we want to hear your success stories!

 

CATS

1) Measure food and ration amount fed: There are several recommendations for diet changes in cats to encourage weight loss. Nutritionist will recommend changing to a low carbohydrate/high protein canned food only. The average cat should eat one 5.5 oz can of food per day (split into meals), also equivalent to two smaller (3 oz) cans per day. It may take time to train your cat to eat a canned food diet only. There are several food tables available online that will show recommendations of lower carbohydrate foods. In general, canned foods with gravy have a much higher sugar (carb) content than pate-style foods. If your cat will not eat canned food or this does not work for your schedule, then we recommend limiting the amount of dry food your cat is fed. On average a cat needs no more than ¼ to ½ cup of dry food per day. We recommend splitting this into 2 meals a day. You can even feed your cat from a slow feeder, food puzzle, Kong, etc to slow their eating. There is a variety of these types of toys and feeders available online, such as on Amazon. You may also do a combination of canned and dry food but remember to limit the amount your pet is fed! It is also important that your pet not receive any table scraps. It is important everyone in the household follows the rules! If your pet constantly is hungry, you may find it helpful to split the daily ration into several smaller meals.

 

2) In addition, we recommend cats receive regular exercise. There are several ways you can increase your cat's activity

-Play time-find a toy that your cat likes to play with and have play sessions 2-3 times daily. Ideals include laser pens, feathers, etc

-Hide the food in the house and make your cat hunt for it. One great product for this is Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co. Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder (mouse toys that you place the cat’s kibble inside)

-Throw treats or dry food as treats and have your cat go to the food

-Have climbing posts

-Place food, litterbox, favorite beds, climbing posts, etc on different levels of the house, if possible, to make your cat use the stairs (assuming your cat does not have arthritis issues)

 

3) Use slow feeders and food puzzles to feed your cat. Feeding your cat all of their meals from a kong, food puzzle, slow feeder can slow their eating and keep them more entertained. You can even make a game of hiding their food and treats throughout the house and teaching them to find them!

 

4) Log and monitor weight loss: It is also important that your pet not lose weight too rapidly. They should ideally loose 1-2% of their body weight each week (so in a cat, just a few ounces). You may bring your pet here or weight them at home monthly. It is important to track their weights so we ensure your pet is not losing weight too quickly or is losing adequate amounts of weight. You may find it helpful to keep a log of feedings, weight loss, activity, etc. There are online weight loss resources such as Purina, Science Diet, and the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

 

5) Keep in touch with us! Please let us know how your weight loss program is progressing. If your pet is not losing weight, then we may need to see them again to ensure they do not have a medical condition preventing them from losing weight. And if your pet is losing weight, we want to hear your success stories!

A great website with a wealth of information about Pet Nutrition is linked below. They also have calorie calculators for both cats and dogs to help you design an ideal weight loss plan for your pet.