If your pet is a little overweight, it’s important to manage their weight. This is because it can affect their quality of life and their ability to perform natural behaviours such as grooming and playing. Being overweight can also lead to many medical conditions such as diabetes, joint pain and arthritis.
We share our top tips for weight management.
1) Measure food out daily
- Using a measuring cup or mug can result in you over feeding your pet by 18-80%. Use scales to accurately weigh food. To save time, you could weigh a week’s worth out and put each daily allowance into a sandwich bag.
2) Check you are feeding the correct amount of food
- Look at the back of the container/bag and feed your pet for their ideal weight, not their current weight. Each brand of food will have a different daily allowance so always check the packaging. The amount given is their daily allowance, not how much to feed each mealtime.
3) For pets that are always hungry/eat quickly
- Try increasing the amount of mealtimes. If they usually feed once a day, try increasing to twice daily. Split their daily allowance between how many meals you feed them. If they eat quickly, try using an interactive feeder to slow them down and make mealtimes last longer.
4) Try feeding a light/reduced calorie diet
- If we have advised that your pet needs to lose weight, you could try changing their diet to a ‘light’ diet. This is a good idea if your pet is only slightly above their ideal weight or prone to putting on weight, but may not work if they need to lose a few kilos. When changing diets, you should do it gradually over a week or two to prevent upsetting their stomachs.
5) Weight loss diets and weight clinics for weight management
- Scarsdale Vets offer free nurse clinics to monitor your pet’s weight, give you tips on weight loss and advise you prescription diets designed to help your pet lose weight. We have had a lot of success using the prescription diets. These are ideal for pets that have more than 1.2kgs (in dogs) or 0.5–1kg (in cats) to lose. If your pet is more than 10% overweight feeding a prescription diet will give you the best results and by joining our free nurse clinics, you will have the support to get your pet to their target.
6) Cut down on treats
- Most treats have a high calorie content. Please speak with your Veterinary Nurse to discuss healthy alternatives to treats.
7) Daily exercise for dogs
- Depending on your dog’s age and any medical conditions, you should ensure that they get a regular amount of exercise on a daily basis
- Try to increase the distance younger dogs are walked by 10–15 minutes
- For older dogs, try taking them on shorter walks, but more frequently.
8) Daily exercise for cats
- Try to encourage your cat to play for a couple of minutes at a time. Cats lose interest very quickly, so shorter bursts of play several times a day will help improve their mobility
- Change their toys weekly to stop them losing interest in old toys. There is no need to buy new toys each week, just rotate them so they have a different one each week
- Encourage them to jump and run up and down the stairs. Try feeding them on the stairs by putting a few biscuits on a few of the steps so they have to move around to get them.
If you have any concerns about your pet’s weight please contact your local practice to book an appointment with a nurse.