Weight control is tough for anyone – two or four legged! However, losing weight and getting in shape can not only add not years to your pet’s life, but it can also make those extra years more enjoyable. Helping your cuddly pets to shed a few kilos may be easier than you think.

Contact Maldon Vet Clinic for a personalised plan for your pet’s return to fitness and body beautiful.

WHY A HEALTHY WEIGHT IS VITAL

Just a few kilos above the ideal body weight can put your pet at risk for developing some serious medical conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Joint injuries
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer – especially intra-abdominal cancers
  • pets who are a healthy weight live significantly longer than pets who are overweight.

CHECK WITH YOUR VET FIRST

You should never put your pet on a diet without the assistance of your veterinary healthcare team. There may be an underlying medical condition that is causing or contributing to your pet’s excess weight.

Your vet will perform a physical examination and recommend blood tests if necessary to ensure that there are no obstacles to weight loss for your pet.

WHY ASK YOUR VET ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS DIET

It is important that any reduction or change in food still provides all the essential nutritional requirements for your pet.

Just reducing the quantity of food may leave your pet hungry and lacking in vitamins, minerals or energy.

Beware of some so-called diet foods eg grain-free pet foods have been linked to heart disease.

Specially formulated diets aim to keep your pet well and happy while losing those extra kilos and becoming a healthy weight again.

Maldon Vet Clinic will do a health examination, suggest tests if necessary, then provide an individual plan for your pet’s diet and exercise programme.

Your vet will need to calculate your pet’s ideal weight based on its breed and size and body shape.

The initial quantity and type of diet, and this modified as required.

Regular check ins, weigh ins and reviews are of course beneficial. In general, your pet should be weighed at least every month until the ideal weight is achieved, with regular reviews.

Sometimes, making only a slight change can deliver significant improvements.

EXERCISE AND WEIGHT LOSS

While exercise is always an important part of a wellness programme, exercise must be the right type, frequency and amount for your individual pet’s needs.

Start slow and build up. Consistency and frequency is the key. Too much exercise can cause pain and exacerbate existing injuries. Too little exercise may slow weight loss.

Ask your vet what is the right exercise programme for your pet.

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Play with your pet at least 15 minutes twice a day. Play is exercise, and distracts your pet from focusing on food.
  • Put the food bowl a long way from pet’s bed to encourage walking to food bowl.
  • Use a puzzle feeder or slow feeder to make a meal last longer.
  • Pat or play or walk with your pet when they beg for food. The distraction and interaction may be just enough to make him forget his desire for food.
  • Measure your pet’s daily food allocation into a container. Feed only what is in that container: divide it in two meals and keep a few pieces of kibble aside to use as treats.
  • When the bowl is empty and your pet is pleading, add a few pieces of kibble to the bowl. A few means only a two to three – not a handful. Keep a few kibbles separate from your pet’s measured daily ration for this purpose.
  • Feed pets separately.
  • Put pets outside or in another room when people are eating to avoid begging.

For most pets, the secret to weight loss is a dedicated, committed, and concerned family.

Pets do not understand that their excess weight is causing them harm. It is up to us as good stewards to protect them from harm and not inadvertently contribute to their premature death or development of debilitating diseases.

Together, you and your veterinary healthcare team can help your pet achieve a healthy body weight safely and successfully.

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