We all want our furry friends to live a long and healthy lives. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to remember your pet’s weight is one of the most influential factors when it comes to longevity, quality of life and disease prevention. It is you who determines what and how much she or he eats.
To put things in perspective, each excess pound on a cat is equal to approximately 15 pounds on an average adult woman, and 17 pounds on the average adult male. A 12-pound Shih Tzu gaining an additional 5 pounds is the equivalent of an extra 58 pounds on a 140-pound woman.
- Visit your veterinarian to evaluate overall health and discuss dietary guidelines for your pet.
- Have a positive and proactive approach and allow your love to be the incentive to achieve your pet’s healthy weight.
- Recruit others to the cause. Don’t let friends and family sabotage your efforts by sneaking treats.
- Keep track of everything your pet eats, including treats, which should equal no more than 10% of the daily calorie intake. Remember to feed according to their target healthy weight, not to their current weight.
- Exercise, but use caution. Suddenly increasing the exercise level of an overweight or obese pet can be dangerous, resulting in serious injury and illness. Increase the duration and intensity gradually.
- Stay committed and be patient. Remember that this is a gradual process, so the results are not always immediate or obvious to the naked eye. Incorporate regular weigh-ins and measurements to track your pet’s progression toward a longer and healthier life.
Originally published January 2019