Feeding tips for a healthy weight
Since you first brought your pet home, you and your pet have grown your relationship and built a daily routine together. But did you know that some of the habits the two of you developed over time may be causing you to inadvertently overfeed your pet?
In fact, many pets are getting more calories than they need, so much so that 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States were considered overweight or obese in 2018. Excess weight is a serious health concern because it increases the likelihood of ailments such as joint disease, heart disease and diabetes.
So how might extra calories be sneaking into your pet's diet? Here are some tips to keep your feeding habits free of hidden calories:
- Is your pet's food right for their age and lifestyle? Maybe your pet's food is too high in calories for their needs. Check with your veterinarian for a recommendation about the best foods for your pet.
- Check the portions. The feeding instructions on the back of the bag or can are just guidelines and may not be ideal for every pet. Your veterinarian can help you determine how much your pet should eat each day. If the amount needs to be reduced, together you can create a plan to gradually reduce your pet's food intake.
- *Safety tip* Food reduction should never happen suddenly and should always be done under the supervision of a veterinarian! Never decrease your pet's meals without consulting your veterinarian first.
- Don't guess—measure! Use a measuring cup to feed your pet. Many pet owners are unknowingly too generous with estimated portions.
- Nix the table food. Not only are these extra calories your pet doesn't need, a lot of human food is dangerous for pets, too.
- Make treats yummy and healthy! Instead of store-bought treats, consider using healthy options, like carrots, green beans or apples.
- Don’t use the whole treat. If you prefer to use commercial treats, buy low-calorie options and cut them into the smallest pieces you can.
Partner with your veterinarian to find out whether your pet is at an ideal weight and discuss weight control strategies specific to your pet’s needs.
Plus, find nutritious, veterinarian-approved pet foods and treats on Shop myVCA >>