Keeping your pet at a healthy weight lowers their risk of certain health problems like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems, back problems, kidney disease, and some forms of cancer. It also can reduce your pet’s risk of joint injuries associated with excess weight. For those pets with arthritis, maintaining a healthy weight can make it easier to manage any associated pain or discomfort.
Excess weight can also increase your pet’s risk of issues during anaesthesia, reduce their life expectancy, and impair their quality of life.
We don’t need any more motivation to keep your pet trim as we know it gives them the best chance of a longer, healthier, and pain-free life.
Top Tips for helping you to reduce your pet’s weight steadily and kindly:
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach or magic remedy to help your pet shed excess pounds. What works for one pet doesn’t necessarily work for another pet, we want to find the best solution for you and your pet.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight requires a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, balancing the calories consumed with the calories used by the body. Even a modest reduction in weight can significantly reduce the chance of some life-threatening diseases.
Weight loss involves reducing your pet’s calorie intake (without them being starving) and increasing their activity level to burn more calories. Be patient. It often takes longer to lose weight than it did for your pet to gain it.
Partner with us
Work with your veterinary team, make an honest assessment of your pet’s health and weight. Does your pet have any medical problems that could be made worse by excess weight? Is your pet’s weight putting them at a higher risk of health problems? Focus on what matters: your pet’s good health and long, comfortable life.
Your veterinary team’s honest assessment of your pet’s weight indicates that we want to work with you to ensure you furry family member is in the best health and has the best quality of life.
Make a family commitment
A commitment to reach and maintain a healthy weight for your pet requires a commitment from the entire family. A weight loss plan isn’t going to work as well if family members sneak your pet extra food or treats. Remind your family that there are many ways other than food to show love for your family pet.
Feed a balanced and healthy diet
All pets require a balanced, nutritious diet. If weight loss is the goal, simply feeding your pet less of their regular food may cause them to miss out on important nutrients and the pet is often left hungry. This can cause them to scavenge other unsuitable “food” sources. The suggested feeding guidelines on the pet food label might not be the correct amount for your pet, they are guidelines, covering a broad spectrum of pets. We can help you decide which food choice and the quantities are best, based on your pet’s individual needs.
To help your pet feel satisfied after each meal and ensure they don’t miss out on essential nutrients, using a diet specifically designed for weight loss will often be recommended. Along with the new diet we can also add some other tricks too. You can try using a special bowl, mat, or food puzzle that makes it harder for them to gulp their food and slows their eating. You also can try toys that release food in small amounts (just be careful to keep the total daily amount of food within the correct range amount). Smaller, more frequent feedings may also help. If you feed your pet kibbles, you can save a small portion of the regular amount to give as treats. Many low calorie treats are available so your pet does not need to miss out.
Extra calorie sources
Although you might find it hard to resist those sad, begging eyes, the extra calories from treats and other food sources outside your pet’s regular diet quickly add up. A good rule of thumb is to limit treats to less than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie needs, we can help you with determining this quantity. We will calculate the reduction in the amount of their regular food by an amount roughly equal to the calories contained in any treats given.
Food does not = love
There are other ways (other than food treats) to reward your pet and show your love. A slow, sniff walk or other activity that your pet enjoys, praise or attention, head scratch or belly rub, or playing with toys or puzzles, can be just as rewarding, and in some cases even help with weight management. We can help you with easy ways to engage with your pet that builds your relationship and is fun for you both.
Whenever your pet begs or barks for food, try distracting them. Positive rewards like praise, petting, and play can strengthen your relationship with your pet, and support a healthy lifestyle.
Weight loss is a journey, having goals along the way can help you appreciate your pet’s progress, even when that progress seems slow. Gradual weight loss is a good thing, as rapid weight loss can lead to or signal serious health problems.
We will work with you to develop realistic, achievable goals for reducing your pet’s weight in a healthy, sustainable way.
Make it fun
Supporting your pet in an active, healthy lifestyle benefits the everyone. Experts recommend that dogs have at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, with cats getting three, 5-minute sessions of intense play. Find activities you enjoy that can include your pet, and the journey will be more enjoyable for all of you.
Monitor and record progress
Once we have set reasonable goals to achieve and maintain your pet’s healthy weight, we will monitor and record your pet’s progress along the way. As with all weight loss programs, there will be successes and there will be missteps. By monitoring and recording your pet’s progress, we can determine what’s working and what’s not, and work with you to adjustments to your pets programme.
Levin & Horowhenua Vets weightloss clinics are free of charge. We want your pet to enjoy quality of life for as long as possible. Call us today on 06 368 2891 to set up an appointment with one of our weight clinic champions.