How to Treat & Prevent Pet Obesity

We love our fat dogs and cats! But, as pet parents, we also want them to be as healthy as possible. In honor of National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on October 13th, we wanted to share some tips on how you can identify and treat obesity in your pets. 

Obese grey cat

How do I know if my pet is obese or overweight? 

Some pets might have excess fat around their body. This makes it a bit more obvious that they may be obese or overweight. 

For the most accurate results, weigh your pet on a scale at home or at the veterinarian. 

Take into account the breed of your pet. Some breeds are meant to be a little stockier than others. For example, the healthy weight of a Greyhound will look much different from the weight of a St. Bernard. Your pet’s gender can also determine their weight status. For breeds like Labrador Retrievers, the males typically weigh more than the females. 

You can utilize the American Kennel Club’s breed weight chart to determine whether your pet is overweight. 

A pet’s behavior may change when they become obese. Dogs and cats tend to show signs of obesity when they sleep most of the day and have trouble walking or breathing. 

It’s important to identify pet obesity as early as you can. According to the American Kennel Club, obesity in dogs can lead to other health issues like:

  • Diabetes
  • Skin problems
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Canine arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Liver problems
  • Mobility issues
  • Breathing problems
  • High blood pressure

How can I help my pets get into shape?

Weight issues in pets are not uncommon, at all. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that in 2018 an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese. So if your furry friend is a little chubbier than most, that’s ok! There are a lot of ways you can help your pet. 

Visit the Vet

If you suspect your pet is struggling with weight issues, make a visit to your veterinarian. They can give you the right diagnosis and help you develop a weight loss plan from there. 

Many veterinarians will recommend putting your dog or cat on a prescription weight management food. Brands like Hill’s Prescription Diet use scientific formulas to target specific areas for weight loss, like glucose levels, digestive health and more. 

Feeding Habits

You can also help change your pet’s eating habits to help them healthily lose weight. For example, if you free-feed or leave a full bowl of food out for your pet to graze on, that might cause them to gain weight. Try only putting out food at specific times of the day. 

Limit the amount of human food and treats you give your pets, too. Our food has higher levels of fat and calories in them that might be harmful to dogs and cats. 

Instead, try low-calorie rewards like Fromm Four Star Cranberry & Liver dog treats. Wellness Kittles cat treats are only 2 calories per treat!

Changing your Pet’s Diet

Many brands at PetFlow have recipes designed specifically to help your pet achieve their weight goals. 

Solid Gold’s Fit & Fabulous Adult Low Fat & Low-Calorie dry dog food is designed for weight control. It’s crafted with functional superfoods, fresh-caught Alaskan pollock, and probiotics for gut health and overall immune supports. 

For cats, Natural Balance Fat Cats dry cat food is a great, low-calorie option. It’s made with natural fiber and high-quality protein to keep your cat nutritionally balanced with fewer calories than other dry foods. 

Exercise Daily

VCA Hospitals also recommends helping your pet lose weight by increasing their exercise. You should walk your pet daily, if possible. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise, but any movement is good for your pet’s health. 

Owner walks dog through park

If you already walk your pet daily, you can increase the length or intensity of the walk. For example, most pet owners take their furry friend for a leisurely stroll with many stops. But a brisk, 30-minute walk is the best for weight loss. 

Simply playing fetch with your dog is a great way to help them fight obesity, too! Encourage them with new toys and praise them when they bring the toy back to you. 

Be Patient

It can be frustrating to learn that your pet is overweight. All we want to do is love our dogs and cats. Sometimes, we show that love through lots of treats! That’s okay, just be more mindful of what you feed your pet. 

The most important thing to do when fighting pet obesity is to be patient. Like us humans, weight doesn’t just fall off when we want it to. Be loving and good to your pets during this journey. Give them lots of snuggle time and support!

Please remember to consult your veterinarian before self-diagnosing or making any big changes to your pet’s diet. For any questions about weight loss products, feel free to give our dedicated customer service team a call. You can reach us at 1-888-316-7297 seven days a week!