Did you know that pet obesity is a problem that over half of all dogs and cats will face in their lifetime? According to a study conducted by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) in 2014, nearly 58% of dogs are overweight and 54% of cats are overweight in the United States alone. As pet owners we love showing our four-legged friends just how much we love them by giving them yummy treats and meals. It is easy to fall victim as a pet owner to overfeeding our pets, sometimes without even realizing it. This is why it is crucial as a pet owner to be vigilant about proper feeding and exercise for you pet. Here are some helpful tips on how you can keep your pets diet in line with a health body weight

Dogs require a mix of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in their daily diet to support a healthy and long life. It is important to remember that not all dogs are the same; feeding will vary by breed, age, special needs, and other factors. However as a general rule of thumb you want your daily feedings to total an amount of 2-3% of the dog’s ideal weight. This general rule is a good place to start to make sure your healthy dog doesn’t turn into an overweight dog! For any dog that is considered a “toy breed” such as a chihuahua or a papillon, they may require 3-5% of their body weight in food due to their naturally high metabolism. Of course feedings may vary based on how active your dog is during their daily routine. A active dog is more likely to require more food to maintain a healthy weight. Aside from healthy food, a=your dog should have unlimited access to clean, fresh water. Before making any changes to your pet’s diet, be sure to consult with a veterinarian who can help recommend a diet plan that is best suited for your dog and their specific nutritional needs. Another rule of thumb is to avoid giving your pet table scraps. Giving your pet too many table scraps can easily put them in danger of becoming overweight.

Cats require a mix of the same nutrients as dogs however the ratio is much different. Food too high in carbohydrates is not good for a cat.  Water is also crucial to a healthy cat! Understanding how much or how little to feed you cat can be a bit tricky, as it all depends on the size, breed, health, and age of your cat. As a general guideline, it is recommended to feed your cat 24-35 calories of food per pound of their body weight to keep them at a healthy weight. To avoid having an overweight cat, you should use a portion control feeding schedule. This means generally feeding a set amount of food, 2 times daily. If you are feeding mainly dry cat food, be sure that your cat is drinking enough water. Without enough water, your cat could suffer from urinary tract problems. This is why many cat owners choose to feed wet food or a mix of dry and wet cat food. Cat treats should never be given in excess and should never exceed 5% of your cat’s food intake.

These general dog and cat feeding guidelines should help keep your pet happy and healthy. Remember, an overweight pet isn’t a happy pet. Regular exercise and playtime not only keep your pet healthy and happy, but it can help keep you happy and healthy too!

Dogs Hiking

For more information on the study conducted by The Association for Pet Obesity or to join their survey, you can learn more about them here.