While we think a few extra pounds on our pets is not something to worry about, keeping them at a healthy weight has a lot of benefits. Some of these benefits include lowering their risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory and kidney disease, and some types of cancer. Although before starting any type of weight loss program, we recommend first scheduling an appointment to bring your furry family member in to Blum for your veterinarian to assess their weight and overall health. During this exam, the doctor will determine their body condition score (BCS) and can also teach you how to assess this. Understanding your pet’s BCS will help keep them on a healthy track. To learn more about BCS, click here.
If your veterinarian determines your pet needs to lose weight, realizing there is not a quick fix or one strategy that works for all furry family member is important. Here are some tips to remember during your furry family member’s weight loss journey.
- Assess your pet’s well-being – Are there any health conditions that could affect your pet’s weight or has any excess weight caused any problems? The most important factor to remember is keeping your pet as happy and healthy as possible so they can live a long life. Your veterinarian will make sure all aspects of their health are considered before any weight loss plan is recommended.
- Everyone on the same page – If more than one person is involved in your pet’s care, it is imperative everyone understands the weight loss plan. Remind your family that they can show their love to your furry family member in other ways besides food!
- Nutrition counts – No more feeding table scraps or other high-calorie foods, and instead try to give healthier snacks instead. If your dog eats too quickly, you can try feeding them in a special bowl or food puzzle that makes them work to get the food out. Discuss with your veterinarian the recommended diet that will be the healthiest and most nutritious for your pet.
- Set goals – Just like with our own weight loss, set goals that are realistic for your pet to achieve. Make sure they do not lose weight too quickly, because this can create other health issues. Keep a log of their progress, so you can monitor their weight loss journey and see if there are any parts that need to be adjusted.
If you have any further questions about your pet’s weight or want to discuss putting them on a weight loss program, please call us at: (773) 327-4446 to speak with your veterinarian. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!
Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.