January 27, 2021 – 09:56 GMT
Are you looking for ways to get your cat or dog to lose weight? We spoke to the experts at Royal Canin for some top tips on how to best keep pets healthy with pet nutrition tips and advice.
As a nation of devoted dog and cat lovers, the health and happiness of our pets is critically important. While you are looking after a loved and loved family member, all pet owners have the wellbeing of their animals in their hearts, but you may not be aware that over 50% of pets in the UK are actually overweight.
This is usually due to owners not knowing the ideal weight and serving size for the individual breed and needs of their pet. Extra weight can create undesirable risks to your cat or dog’s health, triggering diabetes and osteoarthritis, and ultimately a shorter lifespan. That’s why we spoke to the experts at Royal Canin to get some top tips on how to keep pets in their best shape …
1. Find the signs
On a physical level, your pet may look overweight or underweight. Can you feel her ribs easily with light pressure? Is your waist clearly visible? Weigh your cat or dog and make a note of them so you can compare them next time. Your vet can also give you an indication of ideal weight and monitor you at future appointments to encourage the necessary weight loss and keep your pet in optimal health.
2. Discover the body condition assessment
Weighing your dog or cat isn’t the only way to check their overall health. Body condition assessment is a tool that will help you understand your ideal shape. It uses prompts and physical checks that you can do yourself. Similar to a person’s BMI, a 9-point system is used in the assessment, ranging from severely underweight at 1 to obese at 9. A well-proportioned cat or dog has a score of 4 to 5 with ribs that are easily felt with light pressure, a waist that can be seen from above, and a belly that extends behind the side when viewed from the side Hides the rib cage. Royal Canin has created a handy tool for monitoring a Dog body condition score and a Score for the condition of the cat’s bodyHere the owners can answer a few short questions tailored to the breed of their pet to give you all the stats and information you need.
Lindsay Calcraft VN CertCFVHNut, Royal Canin Weight Management Specialist said HELLO! “The latest report from PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) shows that pet obesity has risen as a direct result of lockdown and COVID-19. With more than half of pets in the UK already over ideal weight or obese, the increase is worrying. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, we strongly encourage you to speak to your veterinarian for an assessment of the Body Condition Score. Many veterinary practices offer this free of charge and can be done virtually. You can also get valuable advice on feeding and treating your pet to keep your pet healthy. “
3. Adjust your activity
Healthy weight starts with healthy habits, even for pets! Exercise is key to keeping dogs and cats mentally stimulated and active. The amount of activity they need depends on their age, weight, and race. Cats are naturally active animals that thrive on short bursts of activity, while dogs spend a lot of time outdoors, whether they are running, running, or even swimming.
Also, consider where they spend most of their time. Outdoors cats like to spend hours a day roaming and hunting their surroundings, while indoors cats like to spend a lot of time engaging with their owners through toys and physical interaction – aww! On the dog front, younger dogs and larger breeds need two or more active outdoor sessions per day, while older dogs prefer a gentle walk in the morning and evening.
4. Adjust your environment
Care should be taken to ensure that a cat’s indoor climate does not become dull, which leads to it being inactive and gaining weight. Cats are clever animals who love to feed puzzles and look for dried food. It is therefore recommended that they have access to a scratching post large enough to use while fully stretched in order to strengthen their muscles, and in order for them to have one healthy weight for a cat.
If your dog enjoys socializing, after banning you can team up with a different owner for a group walk around the park or look for dog walking groups in your area (remember to be COVID-19 compliant when hanging out with others outside meet your household). When you can’t get outside due to bad weather or poor health, hide and seek is a game most dogs love – hide one of their favorite toys to keep the brain active and the senses awake. You can also try to hide the treat – but hide some of your daily rations instead of extra goodies to make sure you don’t add any extra calories. Clever, right?
5. Keep an eye on portions
Many owners believe that their dog or cat needs more food than they do – meaning many pets will be overfed. To maintain a ideal dog weightA good place to start is to follow the pet food feeding instructions. Also take into account the size of your dog – a small breed like a Chihuahua needs far fewer calories than a Saint Bernard.
Also, if they’re a working dog, they’ll need more food than someone who spends most of their time indoors on just short walks. A dog may beg for human food at mealtimes when they are not really hungry but are seeking attention from you and are bored or want more affection. If signs of begging or persistent hunger persist, always check with your veterinarian to rule out underlying problems such as worms.
Cats who like to be on the go need more energy from food than cats who are sedentary and mostly stay indoors. Also, consider whether your cat has been spayed or neutered, as sterilization changes its metabolism and you may experience a 20-25% increase in appetite when its actual energy needs have decreased by 30%. Also, many cats prefer to graze throughout the day. In this case, rather than replenishing or making separate servings, it is best to allot a serving of food for the whole day, then skip the bowl and visit it again.
For more information on the health of your pets, visit royalcanin.co.uk. Follow @royalcanin_uk on Instagram or follow the hashtag #PerfectingPetWeight.