Managing Pet Obesity Through Proper Caloric Intake 

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Weight loss and the maintenance of proper weight is a vital aspect of nutritional management for any pet. If your pet has gained excessive weight, it’s essential to employ a plan that addresses the issue. This majorly involves making changes in the caloric intake. Do you know that almost half of pets worldwide are obese? 

Obesity has a high correlation with increased chances of arthritis, diabetes, and reduced life expectancy of the animal. So, it is essential that you balance their energy intake with daily energy expenditure. Regular exercise is a crucial element of your pet’s schedule.

Keep reading to understand how to manage obesity in your pet through proper caloric intake.

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How Many Calories Does Your Pet Actually Need?

You must determine the daily caloric needs of your pet to feed them the right proportion of food. To do so, find out the Body Condition Score of your pet. This quantitative screening tool will help you discover the fat accumulation and body condition of your pet. This scale ranges from 1 to 9. Dogs and cats scoring lower than 5 on this scale are emaciated, while those scoring above 6 are overweight. 

5 is the ideal score to aim for your pet. Feed your cat for healthy weight gain if its score falls below 5. There are various high-protein canned cat food items that have no added preservation and animal by-products. These are great for healthily increasing the weight of your canine. 

Let your veterinarian calculate the ideal caloric intake for your pet every day. It mainly depends on whether your dog or cat is already at a healthy weight or needs to gain or lose it.

Measure Your Dog’s Food When Feeding

Dogs can gain weight rapidly. So, you need to work with your vet to ensure that your pet gets the ideal calories that support their development without causing weight gain. It’s important to count calories when putting your dog on a weight reduction program. 

If you feed them too much, it won’t cause weight loss. On the other hand, feeding too little can result in the development of serious complications such as hepatic lipidosis. Remember to count the treats and search for healthy, low-calorie options for your dog. 

Understand the Cat’s Physiology

When it comes to weight loss, you may think that fewer calories in and more calories out equate to weight loss. However, for cats, this formula is not as simple as it seems. This is because the cat’s physiology is different from pets like dogs and humans. 

Cats are some of the most efficient hunters on the planet. They have a keen sense of sight, hearing, smell and very strong legs. So, if you reduce their calories or stop making them eat at all for two consecutive days, they can develop life-threatening diseases. An example of this is hepatic lipidosis. In common language, it’s fatty liver disease.

Before you make your cat embark on a weight loss program, take some time to understand the animal’s physiology. Don’t forget to see your veterinarian to check if your cat has an underlying medical problem. Sometimes, such a condition can make them gain excessive weight. Similarly, if your pet seems to be losing weight without any reason, feed them for gaining weight healthily.  But as always, take them to your vet so they can examine the animal properly.

Feed Healthy, Small Meals Regularly Throughout the Day

Feeding small meals frequently throughout the day is an effective way to reduce excess weight in every pet, including dogs and cats. Ideally, you should divide the total calories or volume into four to six small meals. If your pet has a habit of waking you up in the middle of the night for food, consider giving a last evening feeding. 

If your dog or cat is craving a midnight snack, give them a small amount of high-protein food. When your pet devours the food bowl and still asks for more, feed them some kibbles. They are high in carbohydrates and will keep your pet satiated for long. Ensure not to feed extra food just because your pet asks for it. 

Do Away with the Auto-Feeder 

You may unknowingly be causing your cat or dog to gain weight by using an auto-feeder. These kinds of manual gravity-dispensed self-feeders keep dispensing food without an end. Remember that the only way to help your pet safely and effectively reach a healthy weight is by restricting their calories and controlling their portion sizes. 

Closing Words

Obesity threatens a pet’s quality of life and exposes them to various health risks. Pet owners often use foods to connect with their canine companions. However, overfeeding can be done unknowingly out of affection and care. It only results in your pet facing various problems afterwards. So, you must plan their meals and check with your vet about your pet’s health regularly. 

Featured image credits:

Jami430, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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