Weight problems are common in dogs and cats and can be successfully managed by a combination of dietary change and exercise. There are many factors that contribute to pets becoming overweight such as age, breed and medical problems.
Overweight pets live shorter lives than healthy weight pets, and pets who are just a few kilos overweight — as little as 20% — have an increased risk of developing serious diseases such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.1
All pets have an ideal weight for their size and breed. Your veterinary healthcare team will be able to tell you what this is, and show you how to check that your pet is maintaining a healthy weight.
The importance of nutrition
The food your pet eats plays an important role in his or her overall health and well-being. Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. If your pet is overweight, your veterinarian will recommend a Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ brand pet food specially formulated for weight loss. These foods provide complete, balanced nutrition to keep your pet satisfied while losing weight. Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ foods are available in canned and dry forms. These can be used alone, or together, to meet your pet’s needs and preferences. There are also treats available for weight management. Changing from an existing food to Hill’s is easy, because pets love the taste of the food.
Staying on track
- Work with your veterinary healthcare team to establish your pet’s target weight, set goals, and monitor and record your pet’s weight regularly
- Feed only at designated feeding times throughout the day
- Control when and how much your pet eats
- Schedule frequent veterinary visits for weigh-ins to monitor your pet’s progress
- Say no to unhealthy snacks
Our 5 steps to a happy, healthier fit life for your pet
1. Watch what your pet eats
Different pets have different needs when it comes to food. That’s why you should work with your Veterinary Healthcare Team to make the right food choices for your cat or dog. Together you can determine the right type and amount of food for your pet’s life-stage and health condition.
2. Track your Pet’s weight
Losing weight can help your pet achieve better health, but only if the weight is lost in a healthy, controlled manner. To make sure your pet is losing weight at a healthy pace, make sure to weigh your pet regularly.
3. Maintain a healthy activity level
Whether it’s playing with a new toy, or playing with the family, make sure your pet is getting the physical activity needed to get and stay healthy.
4. Visit your veterinarian often
Regular trips to the Veterinarian ensure that your pet is at their ideal weight. Your Veterinary Healthcare team knows your pet’s ideal weight, how fast they should be losing weight and which foods are best.
5. Maintain an ideal weight for life
Keep an eye on the long term. Once your dog or cat has attained an ideal weight, ensure you continue with regular exercise and the appropriate food.
Exercise Your Dog’s Playfulness
If you’re trying to reduce your dog’s weight or help your dog maintain a healthy weight, you can complement the right food with simple and fun exercises.
- Create a natural obstacle course with benches, trees, ditches or anything you encounter along the way that your dog can jump over, crawl under or balance on
- Take a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood. This is a great way to exercise and bond with your dog
- Play fetch with a ball or toy (never use a stick, as these can splinter and cause injury to your dog)
- Hide a toy or some kibble and let your dog find it
Exercise your cat’s curiosity
If you’re trying to reduce your cat’s weight or help them maintain a healthy weight, you can complement the right food with simple and fun exercises:
- Use commercial or homemade cat toys to encourage active play (such as a feather, cat fishing pole, foil balls and paper balls)
- Shine a flashlight on the wall and let your cat chase it (do not use a red laser light, as it may damage your cat’s eyes)
- Let your cat play in a box or paper bag
- Feed your cat in different places every day so they can hunt for the food
- Make your cat work harder by using obstacles or feeding from tall furniture
- Toll PW, Yamka RM, Schoenherr WD, et al. Obesity. In: Hand MS, Thatcher CD, Remillard RL, et al., eds. Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 5th ed. Topeka, KS: Mark Morris Institute; 2010:501-542.