Some say that almost 50% of the dogs and cats in North America are overweight. It seems that our beloved pets are suffering from some of the same influences we humans are plagued with. They love to eat and will do so at every opportunity. That is sometimes complicated further by our insatiable love of our pets and the strong desire to provide for all their needs. At times we overdo our desire to provide for them and succumb to their insistence that we feed them; even if they just finished a meal a few hours earlier.
The result is an overweight animal or even an obese animal. Excess weight in our pets encourages many of the problems humans have when they are overweight for any length of time. Heart and kidney issues, diabetes, digestive issues, a stressed immune system, arthritis and other potential concerns can ultimately affect the quality of life and even the life span of the pets.
Regular exercise and the proper diet are the keys to controlling the weight of our pets and reducing the chances of having to deal with some of the issues mentioned above. It is important for pet parents to take the time to provide their dogs with outdoor time. In addition to exercise, activities should be stimulating and encourage a stronger bond between pet and pet parent. Cats need exercise as well. Most cats live inside and do not have opportunities to explore the outdoors. Toys can be exciting activity stimulants for indoor cats. Play time with the pet parent is also a good time to encourage activity. Making subtle changes in the environment can sometimes peak their curiosity and make them more active. Placing a box on the floor or moving water bowls to new locations are always fun for our feline friends.
Feeding a complete and balanced diet is essential for all animals. Controlling the amount of food fed is critical in maintaining a proper weight. Regular twice a day feeding is preferred over feeding free choice especially if a weight problem already exists. We must all keep in mind that we have 100% control over what our pets eat. Our goal should be to feed only enough to maintain an ideal lean body mass. If your pet appears to be gaining weight, cut back. If your pet seems to be too thin, increase the amount you are feeding.
Wellness has created recipes to help the pet parent with a cat or dog that is struggling with weight gain. Wellness® Super5Mix Healthy Weight recipe for dogs and Wellness® Feline Healthy Weight recipe for cats are ideal, lower calorie diets that are designed to satisfy appetite and encourage weight loss. They contain fewer calories per cup of food. In addition, nutrients like L-Carnitine support fat metabolism, with specific fibers to help satisfy appetite without additional calories. Both Wellness Healthy Weight recipes also contain the added natural nutrients you have come to expect in all Wellness formulas, probiotics, natural antioxidants like Lycopene, Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint support (many overweight dogs and cats suffer from the discomfort of arthritis), Omega fats for healthy skin and hair as well as heart and kidney health and an optimum immune system.
Our Wellness Healthy Weight recipe for cats, like all our feline diets, is designed for urinary health as well. Always keep in mind that an essential part of every cat’s diet is adequate water consumption. Feeding canned food along with the dry recipe, multiple water stations throughout the home and re-circulating water fountains (cats love running water) are all suggestions that encourage adequate water intake. Maintaining an ideal body mass in our pets is one of the most important ways we can assure a long, happy and healthy life for the pets in our home.