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Managing your pet’s weight

Managing your pet’s weight

As devoted pet parents, we want what’s best for our four-legged friends. One crucial element of this responsibility is helping our pets maintain a healthy weight. Still, this can be challenging, particularly during Christmas time when there are more leftovers than usual to enjoy.

Beyond aesthetics, a healthy weight is important for your pet’s physical and mental wellbeing. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy guide to managing your pet’s weight through a healthy diet and exercise regime, considering elements such as dog food for weight loss and cat food for weight loss. 

As the new year approaches and we set our resolutions, it’s the perfect time to set new goals to keep your pet happy, healthy, and thriving.

Recognising healthy weight for different breeds

An overweight pet is not something to be taken lightly, but it can be challenging to spot if your dog or cat gradually gains weight over time. Still, some critical signs to look out for could indicate obesity. If you spot any of these signs, consult your vet to compile a health plan for your pet.

  • You can’t feel their ribs. If your pet is a healthy weight, then you should be able to feel their ribs with a gentle touch. However, if a layer of fat prevents you from doing this, it could be a sign that your pet is overweight.
  • Lack of waistline. Looking at your pet from above, you should see a defined body shape resembling an hourglass. Dogs that are fat tend to have a less visible waistline, which makes their body possess a more rectangular shape.
  • A change in mobility. If you notice a decrease in play or problems with movement or running, it could indicate that your pet is overweight. Another sign is if your pet becomes quick to tire during exercise sessions.
  • Breathing issues. Obesity often leads to breathing issues, which result in laboured breathing.
  • Behavioural changes. A reluctance to play or a change in temperament could indicate that your dog or cat is overweight. 
  • Grooming issues. This is more prominent in cats than dogs. Cats are proud groomers, but being overweight this can become challenging, leading to unkempt or matted fur.
  • Visible fat or a swollen abdomen. Visible fat pads or a hanging stomach show that your pet has gained excessive weight.
Dog healthy weight range body fat index
Cat healthy weight body fat index

Factors contributing to pet obesity

Pet obesity is a complex issue that several environmental and behavioural factors can cause. The three most significant contributors are diet, lack of exercise, and medical conditions.

Diet

Excessive amounts of food or treats can contribute to your pet’s obesity. Still, it’s not just the amount of food, but the quality. Diets that are rich in fats and carbohydrates can easily lead to obesity if they’re not monitored correctly. 

In addition, using food as a reward for good behaviour or as a sign of affection can lead to overfeeding.

You can look for specific dog or cat food for weight loss or opt for high-quality, well-balanced pet foods that provide adequate nutrition. Pet Chemist offers a high-quality range of dog foods, providing access to all the best weight management brands. And it’s not just dogs; Pet Chemist offers premium food options for cats and other pets, too!

cat weight loss food

Lack of exercise

Your pet needs to engage in regular physical activity, or they’ll have no way to burn off the calories they consume daily. This can be particularly prominent for indoor cats who adapt to a sedentary lifestyle.

Both cats and dogs require daily exercise, which you can encourage through play. Pets love attention from their owners, so it should be easy to get them running around – and the bonus is you get to strengthen your bond with them.

Medical conditions

Age is a prominent contributor to weight gain as animals slow down as they age, meaning their lifestyle isn’t as active as it once was, and they don’t require the same calorie intake. Adjusting their diet is essential as your dog or cat approaches their senior phase.

Other health issues, such as an underactive thyroid, can also lead to weight gain. For this reason, if you notice a weight change in your pet, it’s crucial to consult with a professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Creating a healthy diet plan

Creating a healthy meal plan is critical to maintaining a healthy weight for your pet. Here are some steps to achieve that.

  • Consult with a vet: allow a professional to assess your pet’s current health and provide guidance for the appropriate next steps.
  • Choosing the correct type of pet food: Select reputable, high-quality pet food brands that offer the optimum amount of nutrition for your pet. If a medical condition is contributing to your pet’s obesity, you could consult a vet who could, perhaps, offer them a prescription diet. Some popular, Vet recommended products include:
Hill's Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Dry Dog Food

Formulated by Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians to support your dog’s weight management. Clinically proven nutrition for healthy weight loss in just 8 weeks.

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Royal Canin Weight Management Cat Wet Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Satiety Weight Management Wet Cat Food

Formulated to help reduce your cat’s hunger. Satiety enables your cat to receive a 32% larger portion than your average high-fibre weight loss diet.

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Hill's Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Dry Cat Food

Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Dry Cat Food

Formulated by Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians to support your cat’s weight management. Clinically proven nutrition for healthy weight loss in just 8 weeks.

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Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Wet Dog Food

Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Wet Dog Food

Proven to help dogs lose 13% of body weight in 2 months. Nutrition to help avoid weight regain after weight loss, plus includes powerful antioxidants.

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Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Satiety Weight Management Wet Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Satiety Weight Management Wet Dog Food

Formulated for safe and effective weight loss and successful long term weight management in dogs. 97% of dogs lost weight in 3 months.

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Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Satiety Weight Management Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Satiety Weight Management Dry Dog Food

97% of dogs lost weight in 3 months. Reduces the consumption of food and decreases undesirable begging behaviours.

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Look for high-quality proteins with limited amounts of fats and carbohydrates. Avoid human foods where possible, as they’re often more calorie-dense and packed with sugar, salt, and additives.

Browse our complete range of weight loss food for dogs and cats, to see what may best suit your pet’s needs.

  • Portion control: Looking for how much to feed a dog by weight kg? Read the feeding guide on each of our product listings and follow the guidelines associated with your pet’s age and weight. Additionally, try to limit treats – replace food-based rewards with attention or playtime.

Promoting regular exercise

Another vital component of weight management lies in promoting regular exercise. Dogs and cats have different needs, but there are many ways to provide both physical and mental stimulation.

Before creating an exercise plan, consider breed, age, general health, and personal preferences to tailor the best plan for you and your pet.

Daily walks are great exercise for both dogs and cats, and once leash trained, going for a stroll through the park can be an excellent way for your companion to get some fresh air and exercise. Along with physical activity, regular walks can also provide social interaction and mental stimulation.

Interactive games are another excellent way to bond with your pet while promoting exercise. You can train dogs and cats to play fetch. Dogs also enjoy games such as tug of war or obstacle courses, while felines will love anything that allows them to mimic natural hunting behaviours, such as a string toy or something they can pounce on.

Using weight loss food for cats and dogs works better with an exercise plan. And it’s this physical activity that helps keep your pet’s bones and joints healthy, too.

Monitoring and adjusting

Monitoring your pet’s weight is an ongoing process that requires time and understanding. The most essential actions to take are:

  • Regular vet checkups
  • Monitoring their food intake, activity levels, and weight
  • Adjusting their diet and exercise at different stages of their lives
  • Keeping an eye on their overall health and temperament

By staying vigilant and proactive, you can help your pet maintain a healthy weight and engage in a healthy lifestyle. Remember, each pet is unique and comes with their own needs, but with a bit of care, you can help ensure that they are all living their best lives.

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