With pet obesity on the rise for the 6th straight year, our furry little friends are in the midst of an epidemic. In 2015, over 50% of pets in the U.S. were considered overweight or obese. With that number on the rise for yet another year, pet obesity has quickly become one of our nation's rising epidemics.
While this news is tragic, and somewhat shameful to the table-feeders in us all, it's our responsibility to do what we can to guarantee our pets are in the best possible shape and health. If you're looking to help your pup shave off a few pounds this year, read on...
Tip 1: Get a checkup from the vet
Annual exam checkups are always a good opportunity to get some advice from the vet. The next time you're there, ask if they can do a quick caloric intake estimate for your pet. This should be helpful in determining how much and how often you feed your pet. You might be surprised by what you hear about the requirements for Fluffy's meals.
Tip 2: Research healthy pet food
With your caloric intake estimate in hand, it's time to get an idea of which brands are the healthiest. Start with basic research on popular food brands out there. Get an idea of which brands are best for your dog or cat's breed or size.
Where should you start? There are countless community forums out there where pet owners chime in with their best chow-buying practices. Use their feedback and knowledge to make researched, educated decisions when buying food.
Tip 3: Cut the table-feeding
For some of us, this one is tough.
Those innocent puppy eyes peering upwards toward you underneath the table? You feel them in your hear! But your pet doesn't need any more food. We know it's hard to deny! However, it's also hard to deny how this habit is by-and-large unhealthy for your pet.
These are unnecessary calories that our pets could do without. Plus, many human foods can be a health risk for your pet to eat!
Tip 4: Monitor treat intake
To our canine and feline friends, treats are one of life's many rewards. Most cat owners can attest to treats directly translating to cuddles.
It's a good idea to keep an eye on how many treats you and your family members give your pets. If you frequently use treats to reward good behavior, try using added-verbal praise when playing with your furry companion. Another form of praise is simply spending more time with your animal.
Tip 5: Get some exercise
We all could use some more cardio in our lives -- even our pets.
Before and after work, take your dog out for a 15-20 minute walk. If you have a cat, take initiative and engage in some fun activities around the house. Both you and your furry friends will benefit from added exercise.
We all bear some responsibility in this pet obesity epidemic. If you're a responsible pet owner who wants to improve their pet's health, pay the vet a visit to determine how much your pet really needs to eat. Once you get a goodidea, research the best foods that align with your goals. Finally, monitor treat intake and don't forget to get some exercise with your furry companion.