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Top 4 Ways to Help Your Dog or Cat Lose Weight

Obesity is a major health concern in companion animals. Being overweight can predispose dogs and cats to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and even cancer. We deal with this issue on a daily basis at Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic and we are here to help. The major cause of obesity in our patient population is overfeeding. This is often due to the idea that "food is love" and feeding a food that is too calorically dense for the animal's needs. The first step to helping your pet lose weight is an examination with a veterinarian.

At Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic, we use the Purina Body Condition Scale to understand how overweight an animal is. Then we calculate the ideal weight of the pet and determine how many calories they'll need on a daily basis to reach their weight loss goal. It is important to know what food you're currently feeding your pet when you come in for their appointment. We need this to know how many calories per cup are in the food to determine how many calories the animal eats on a daily basis. Once this total caloric intake is calculated we can decide how to decrease the calories consumed in a day.

The 4 easiest ways to help a pet lose weight are: switching to a lower calorie food, decreasing dry food and increasing wet food, increasing exercise and decreasing treats and table food. There are many low calorie/weight loss/weight maintenance diets on the market. Some of these are over the counter and can be purchased without a prescription at most pet food retail locations. Other times we need to use a prescription weight loss diet to reach the recommended calories per day. This is a conversation we can have at Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic when we examine your pet.

The other way is to reduce the amount of dry food, which is usually the most calorically dense part of the animals diet. When we take away the dry we want to add back in some wet food to help ease satiate the pet. Wet food is 80% moisture and does not contain a lot of calories. Using this technique we can often help the patient feel full while they lose weight. The next step is to increase the amount of exercise the pet is receiving. Often this is the most helpful and healthy step to help your pet lose weight. Just increasing the number of walks or engaging your pet in play can significantly improve their overall health and help them lose weight.

The final step in the weight loss journey is ensuring the pet does not eat human food or too many treats. It is a lot of fun to feed our pets human food, but it comes at a cost. A normal piece of cheese to an average dog equates to a hamburger worth of calories to a human. We all wish we could eat hamburgers all day, but that is not a healthy diet. So limiting treats and ensuring the best treats are low calorie options, like 1-2 calories per treat, are great ways to help your pet lose weight.

If you are concerned with your pets weight or just want to ensure they are at an ideal weight for their age and breed, please call Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic at

970-663-PETS (7387). We can see you at the veterinary hospital for same day appointments. We also offer urgent care appointments and general wellness visits. We are always accepting new clients and look forward to seeing you and your pet soon. Remember to subscribe to the blog! Best, Dr. Nick

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