Unlike humans, dogs and cats have a propensity to pack on pounds virtually overnight. Combine the wrong food with overfeeding PLUS a low exercise regimen and you’ll have an overweight pet in no time flat.

A lot of people get dogs as part of a commitment to their own health, pledging hours of the next decade (at least!) to walking their dog up to four times a day. While four times a day is certainly not the norm, two long walks a day should really help with jump starting weight loss.

If you notice your dog is overweight, try doubling your walk time in the morning and at night. We know this is a major time commitment, but if you make the time and schedule accordingly, you’ll see the weight simply fall off your dog in a much shorter time. If you’re currently walking for 30 minutes, double it to an hour. If you’re walking for an hour, add two more hours with walks during the day and longer walks at night once you’re home from work. If possible, try jogging with your dog for longer and longer stretches of the walk, to get your dog more used to an active lifestyle. This is an activity that should preferably, continue throughout their life.

Exercise, however, is virtually useless without a compatible diet. Most commercial pet foods are extremely high in unhealthy fats, and offer a diet similar to feeding your dog potato chips–everyday.

Though it lowers the cost of your dog’s food, it’s not doing much for their overall health. You may think you’re saving money, but the likelihood of experiencing expensive health issues at the vet will quickly kill all the money you think you’ve saved.  Also, the unhealthy fats in commercial pet foods is not expended during exercise, it’s stored. And as a result, your pet gains weight. It’s definitely not ideal.

Switch to a higher quality food and look for the key words “lite” or “senior”. Stick with a single protein formula, keeping it easy to digest. We have some fantastic selections from Annamaet (Lean Recipe), Nulo (Cod Wt. Mgmt. Formula), Fromm Gold Recipe, and Blue Buffalo to satisfy any dog’s weight loss program. Also, Petcurean has some great foods to help maintain a healthy body weight.

If you are currently feeding a veterinary formula, we can offer a great alternative for both dogs & cats with the Diamond Care line, but this is to be used for short period of times only, then your companion should be put on a weight management recipe for maintenance.

Putting your cat on a diet, may be a little trickier. Seeing as many cats spend their time lounging indoors, it’s up to owners to pay close attention to their diet. Any cat that is overweight should have a physical exam performed by a vet, exact weight measured with blood and urine tests. It is vital that normal thyroid hormone levels are present and that the cat has no physical or metabolic dysfunction. Once that has been confirmed, then you can start to alter the diet.

Start by feeding your cat  two to four small portions daily and control the amounts fed so that over a period of time the cat does not gain weight. Many pet owners must downsize what they think is a “normal” portion. Often times, owners will feed their cat based on how much they can it, not the cat.  A cat’s meal should proportionally be about 1/25 of a human meal. That comes out to between 0.6 and 1.0 ounce of food per meal for a seven-pound cat. It’s time to switch from thinking in “cups” of food to thinking in “ounces”. Keep the protein level high–between 35 and 45 percent, and stick to diets that are low in carbohydrates.

Obesity is not the end of the world, by far when it comes to health issues, but they can spark a maelstrom of ailments if ignored.  Following these simple but important directions, you can build new habits with your pet to keep them at a consistently healthy weight.