The obesity epidemic that plagues the United States has reached our pets, and the results aren’t pretty. Overweight and obese pets are at risk of many of the same health concerns as overweight humans, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, certain cancers, and decreased life span.
Keeping our pets as healthy as possible is important, but the fast-paced, busy lives so many of us lead make it difficult to keep the focus on weight management in pets. Your team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is committed to helping you optimize your pet’s health through the prevention and treatment of pet obesity.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
In general, too much food combined with too little activity can lead to extra weight in pets. Besides adhering to proper portion control (your veterinarian can help you determine how much your pet should be eating each day), there are plenty of fun and creative ways busy pet owners can do to promote daily exercise, including daily walks, games like fetch and tug-of-war, indoor cat games, scratching posts, and more.
If you are regularly away from home all day and are concerned that your pet isn’t getting enough activity, don’t be afraid to seek help! Enlist a friend, neighbor, or professional pet sitter to stop by and play with your dog or cat during the day. Social dogs can derive great benefit from a few days per week in a doggie daycare, where they will receive plenty of calorie-burning playtime.
How Fitness Trackers Can Help
It’s easy to overestimate your pet’s caloric needs, and to underestimate how much activity they should be getting in a day. Pet owners today have more options than ever when it comes to pet weight management, including amazing technology right at our fingertips!
Pet fitness trackers, some of the newest products to enter the over 6 billion dollar pet industry, can help pet owners fine-tune their pet’s daily activity, caloric intake, whereabouts, and may even help you or your veterinarian spot potential health problems early on.
Check out these popular fitness tracker options:
- Fitbark – Fitbark is worn on your dog’s collar and collects information regarding general behaviors, such as sleep quality, activity levels, distance traveled, and calories burned.
- Whistle – This small device that attaches to your dog’s collar includes built-in WI-FI, cellular connectivity, GPS, and activity tracking technology.
- Vetrax – Another highly regarded tracking device, which is designed with your pet’s health in mind. In addition to general health and fitness tracking, Vetrax takes it a step further by monitoring behaviors, such as scratching and shaking, which are potential indicators of health problems. The information collected with Vetrax can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pet’s future health, as well as make adjustments and corrections to your pet’s activity and nutrition as needed.
Weight Management in Pets
Still having trouble getting a handle on your pet’s love handles? Need help understanding weight management in pets? We can help. Your Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital veterinarian will be happy to provide you with a nutritional analysis for your pet, and help you come up with a weight management plan that you and your pet can live with.