We all love the fat cat memes, and the round hound GIFs on the internet – but the reality is, in the real world, rolls come with real problems.
So how can we be the best guardians we can be and tell when our pets are overweight? We answer some common obesity questions below.

When it comes to food - our pets just don't know "no" (Source: Pinterest)

When it comes to food – our pets just don’t know “no” (Source: Pinterest)

Q: How Can I Tell If My Cat or Dog Is Overweight?

A: Common Symptoms of Pet Obesity:

  • Lack of Overall Energy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Overall Lethargicness 
  • A “waddling” gait (more moving from side to side when walking)

Q: My cat has a pouch belly? Is he/she overweight?

A: Cats have what is known as a primordial pouch – a pouch that’s biologically designed as a defense mechanism that protects a cat’s internal organs from predators. However – there is a clear difference between what a normal cat looks like, and what the signs of obesity look like. Click here to learn more about the physical signs of obesity.

Q: Does Obesity Cause Other Problems For My Pet?

A: Yes! Obesity can cause other problems for your pet such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Liver Disease
  • Lowered Immune System
  • Increased Risk Of Developing Cancer (Malignant Tumors)
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Decreased Stamina

Q: What Are The Causes Of Obesity?

A: While there are many causes for pet obesity, essentially it all boils down to your pet consuming more “energy” then they use throughout the day.

Q: How Long Does It Take Cat/Dogs To Lose Weight?

A: According to the Dog Food Advisor, with the appropriate corrective behavior (utilizing both improved diet and exercise methods), a dog can lose approximately 1 to 2% body weight in a week. View Dog Food Advisor’s Dog Food Calculator to learn how you can help your pet achieve their goals.

Now that you know about obesity, here are 5 ways you can help your pet reach new health goals:

1. Make Exercise Fun!

Just like you need extra motivation to go the gym, your pet is going to need the extra push to work out too. Instead of dragging exercise into an event, be your pet’s best fitness coach possible. Get them excited about going for a walk and use lots of positive reinforcement before, during, and after your walk to let them know you’re happy they are taking care of their health.

2. Learn How To Say “No”

As fun as it is to treat your pet to table scraps, the buck stops with you. Instead of treating with treats, treat them with extra playtime, extra hugs, (if they’re a hugger) extra snuggle time, or just extra one on one time (great if you have a multi-pet home).

3. When In Doubt, Plan It Out

Like all goals, you want to take your pet’s health seriously. Grab a planner and start planning on “when” you will exercise with your pet daily.

4. Change It Up

Fan of Pinterest? Check out some pet fitness boards for ideas on how you can get fit with your pet. Try to write down “new ideas” on how you’ll workout with your pet that day – a walk to the park, Frisbee in the backyard, 15 minutes of dedicated laser pointer time. The more you change up your routine, the more invested you’ll be, and, the plus side? You’ll learn what your pet does, and doesn’t like to do when it comes to working out.

5. The Way You Treat Your Pet Should Change

Did you know? Many pet owners feed the right amount of food but treat 1-2X every day. While that sounds ok on paper, those 1-2 extra treats a day = an extra 30 calories a day which could = your pet gaining over three pounds in a year.

Try single, low-calorie ingredient treats like sweet potato, chicken, or blueberry, or look for low-calorie treats.

Want to learn more tail-wagging tips?
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For more on avoiding pet obesity, click here.