With the New Year just starting, everyone is focusing on their list of resolutions… to be kinder, better, healthier in 2020. Have you considered making your pet part of your New Year’s resolutions? You might want to, especially if your furry friend is carrying a few extra pounds.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Obesity can affect every aspect of your pet’s health, increasing the likelihood of developing chronic conditions like diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart and heart disease, breathing difficulties, joint injuries, and cancer. Read on for more about the pet obesity epidemic and what you can do to help your pet slim down.

What contributes to a pet becoming obese? The reasons vary. Sometimes it’s as simple as a lack of exercise and too much food. Age can play a role, too. As pets get older, their energy levels drop, and that often coincides with a tendency to exercise less. And pets who’ve been spayed or neutered gain weight faster than pets who haven’t been sterilized.

Regardless of the reasons behind your pet’s weight problem, there are several steps you can take to help your fluffy friend get back into his or her skinny collar, including:

  • Measuring your pet’s food to make sure you’re not overfeeding
  • Placing food in toys that require interaction with your dog or cat to receive a food reward
  • Trying interval walking/jogging with your dog instead of just a simple walk. You’ll both burn more calories, and it makes the walk more interesting for your pet.
  • Hiding kibble around the house so that your cat must hunt for food, or put it high on a kitty tree
  • Spreading meals out throughout the day (note: make sure the total amount fed for the day is the correct amount)
  • Playing with your cat or dog using love and attention, not treats
  • Getting health conditions under control. Some illnesses, like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, can cause weight gain in pets. It’s important for you to work closely with your veterinarian to manage these medical issues.

How Do I Choose The Right Diet For My Pet?

Keto, paleo, clean eating – the variety of diet plans available to humans eager to shed a few pounds can be overwhelming. The same is often true of specialty pet diets. If you’ve ever tried to navigate the murky world of grain-free vs. natural, organic vs. raw, you understand just how confusing it can be to find the right diet for your dog or cat, especially if they’re bordering on overweight or clinically obese.

The staff and veterinary team at Goshen Animal Clinic have made it a goal to take the mystery out of feeding your pet. To that end, we’re putting the spotlight on two food varieties our nutrition experts recommend—Hill’s Prescription Diet: Metabolic Canine Dry and Royal Canin Calorie Control food for cats.

Hill’s combines a unique fiber blend with powerful antioxidants to work naturally with your dog’s metabolism and help them lose weight, all while supporting holistic health. Royal Canin does much the same thing, only with an eye toward the specific needs of our feline friends.

Both Hill’s and Royal Canin are available for purchase on-site at our clinic. Drop in anytime during office hours and a member of our staff will be able to steer you toward the right food for your pet!

Whatever weight lose goals you are setting this year… for you or your pet – remember that the team at Goshen Animal Clinic offers nutrition counseling as one of our many suite of services. Our nutrition experts will be more than happy to assist you in weight management for your pet and answer any questions you have about feeding and exercise. Just call us at 502-228-1827 to schedule an exam!