Your local animal hospital isn't just a place to which you can turn when your pet is ill or experiencing some other troubling issue. It's also an ideal place to visit for preventative care, including learning about weight-related issues for your pet. It's easy for domestic animals to get overweight through a poor diet and a lack of exercise, and the results can be troubling. Not only can the pet's overall quality of life diminish because of the aches and pains it experiences due to being overweight, but you may find that you need to take the pet to the animal hospital more frequently, thus incurring more costs. To take a proactive approach to your pet's weight, talk to your pet's veterinarian about these things.
Many pets get overweight simply because their owners feed them too much. It's easy to feel guilty if your pet is acting in a hungry manner — for example, it comes to the kitchen and drools every time you prepare some food for your family. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that the pet needs to eat, and you continuously slipping treats to the animal out of guilt can lead to it being overweight. Your veterinarian will talk to you about the ideal daily food volume for your pet and encourage you to measure it meticulously to reduce the risk of the pet gaining weight.
Just as it's important for humans to exercise daily in order to avoid weight gain, your pet should also be active. Unfortunately, people who own pets but lead daily lives will often see their pets gain weight because of inactivity. Your veterinarian will encourage you to provide daily exercise for your dog; cats can often get enough exercise on their own. Dogs, however, need daily time outside, and five minutes in the yard to do their business isn't enough. Based on your dog's breed, age, and exercise needs, the vet will give you a guideline to follow.
As pets age, it's often important to change their food. For a kitten or puppy, a higher-calorie food can be valuable to help the pet reach its ideal weight. This can also be the case if the pet has been underweight for any reason. However, as the pet ages, it may begin to gain weight if it continues to eat the same type of food. In such a scenario, it may be advantageous to switch to a type of food that is formulated for mature pets, and your veterinarian will give you recommendations of this nature.