A chubby ginger cat.

We know that pudgy puppies and tubby tabbies look extra cute and cuddly, but the fact is, those extra LBs are impacting more than your pet’s dress size. A little extra weight can put your pet at an increased risk of serious health conditions. And while she might not seem self-conscious about those extra pounds, you can bet the added heft is affecting her energy levels and mobility. 

At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we want to help pet owners understand the implications of pet obesity. Check out these tips for helping your pet win the battle of the bulge. 

  1. Crunch the Numbers

First, learn what constitutes a healthy weight for your pet. This online chart of ideal weight from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is a good place to start. If your pet’s weight is high, it’s best to schedule a veterinary wellness visit. There are some diseases that can cause pets to gain weight, so we need to rule those out before beginning any pet weight management plan.  

Cats and dogs are considered overweight if their weight is 10-20 percent higher than what it should be. We weigh your pet at every checkup, but contact us between visits if she seems to be gaining weight.

  1. Realize the Implications

Obesity puts your pet at risk of serious health problems, including:

  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Heart problems
  • Hypertension
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Immune disorders
  • Bladder stones

Plus, overweight pets have a harder time moving around or grooming themselves, and are less tolerant of the Texas heat. 

  1. Establish Healthy Eating Habits

A healthy diet forms the foundation of any pet weight management plan, and your Leon Valley veterinarian will gladly recommend nutritionally-balanced food, appropriate portion sizes, and a mealtime frequency that is right for your pet.

  1. Sweat With Your Pet

Exercising is better with a friend, so join in the fun to help your pet achieve her weight loss goals! Aim for about 30 minutes a day, and carve out a set time for exercise or constructive playtime. Take a walk or run with your dog, play fetch, use a toy to entice your cat to go up and down the stairs, play hide the (healthy) treat, go for a swim, take a dog yoga class, or create a kitty obstacle course. Your pet will enjoy the attention from her favorite human, and it will give you some much needed one-on-one time with your pet. 

  1. Stick to Your New Routine

Consistency is key when it comes to pet weight management, so stick with her new mealtime and fitness routines until she reaches her goal. Your pet’s weight will need to be monitored regularly so we can adjust her weight management plan to meet her changing needs as she ages.

We’re here to help your pets stay healthy and active throughout their lives. Contact us to schedule an appointment or if you have any concerns about your pet’s weight.