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Managing your pet’s weight

We all know it’s not healthy for our pets to be overweight and, in extreme circumstances like these, it could be easy to fall into bad habits by giving your pet extra treats or naughty snacks.  

With the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus), knowing how to keep your pet happy, healthy and at an ideal weight in lock-down may help give you peace of mind that you’re doing all you can for their wellbeing too.

Here’s some advice on how to keep your pet healthy with their weight in mind which could reduce their risk of weight related illness in the future…

Avoid giving your pet human food

  • A biscuit or a piece of cheese may seem like a little treat, but it’s like a whole meal for dogs. Did you know… just one biscuit is the equivalent to one and a half burgers to a medium sized dog. And just one small cup of whole milk is the equivalent to 3 burgers to a medium sized cat.
  • Feed a specifically formulated weight management diet to help keep your pet satisfied between meals, where possible.
  • It can be easy to give food to a dog begging, but this can easily lead to overfeeding and in turn lead to obesity. Rather than giving in, it’s important to understand the reason your pet is begging. This could be due to them wanting your attention or fuss, wanting to play or for grooming.  Next time your dog is begging, try a different tactic rather than giving food.

Make mealtimes fun!

  • Scatter feeding using dry food can be done indoors or outside in the garden which will slow down their eating and encourage them to be more active. You can also use slow or puzzle feeders to make mealtime last longer which also helps to keep them stimulated.
  • You could even set-up little treasure hunts for your pet to find their feed.
  • Splitting their food into smaller more frequent meals helps to prevent hunger.
  • The use of digital scales will help ensure accuracy of their daily feeding allowance. Measuring cups can lack accuracy and cause unintentional over-feeding.
  • Some of their daily allowance could be saved for treats instead.
  • Vegetables such as carrots are good alternatives to naughty snacks for dogs.

Involve all the family and keep active…

  • Make sure the whole family are on-board with the new feeding regime, including children.
  • Ensure regular exercise or activities in the home or garden. 
  • Cats can be harder to encourage to exercise, however the use of wand toys can be a good way to encourage play with your cat. Also ensure they have toys for independent play such as ping pong, balls, mazes and catnip toys.

If you have any concerns about your pets weight our practice nurses are here to offer you advice.