Get Leashed talks to Senior Pet Nutritionist, Jennifer Adolphe
By the Get Leashed Health Team
Even with the best intentions, pets get chubby. It’s not entirely your fault, the same factors come into account with pet weight gain as with people. We all get a little less exercise in the winter months, enjoy snacking more than we should, and metabolize meals slower with age. But as we help ourselves by paying attention to our weight and course correcting bad habits, we need to help our pets do the same.
Petcurean, a pet food company we’ve been following for some time because of their dedication to animal health and well being, hooked us up with Jennifer Adolphe, a Senior Pet Nutritionist to get some tips on how to maintain pet weight and consequently, overall health and longevity of life. So, full disclosure, Petcurean products are discussed in the 5 tips below – but, like we said, we totally back this Canadian made pet food and their mission to provide the freshest, highest quality ingredients that pets love. And love it they do! We asked for a dog to be present for our discussion with Jennifer and Fisher, the out-of-control handsome pooch in the images was the best proof that dogs are into what Petcurean is doing.
Okay, enough from us! Here’s Jennifer:
Did you know that the number of obese pets continues to rise every year and that approximately 40% are now overweight or obese? One of the most important things we can do to protect the long-term health of our pets, and something that we can largely control, is helping them maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity is a significant risk factor for many life-threatening diseases that affect dogs and cats. For example, diabetes and obesity in cats often go hand-in-hand. For dogs, even a slight increase in weight has been shown to decrease their lifespan by about two years. What can you do to help keep your pet lean and fit?
1. Prevent weight gain in the first place
It’s best to prevent weight gain in the first place since weight loss can be difficult to achieve. Pets who have lost weight are more susceptible to regaining weight and the associated health problems.
2. Weigh your pet
Visit your vet to weigh your pet and for a health check to make sure that there are no underlying health conditions. For weekly follow-ups at home, you can weigh your pet using a bathroom scale. Weigh yourself, then pick up your pet and weigh again. Subtract the difference to determine your pet’s weight.
3. Assess your pet’s body condition score
Determine your pet’s body condition score to determine if she needs to lose weight. Use a body score chart, like the one available on the Petcurean site. Look for a proportioned, slightly hourglass body shape when viewed from above, a slight tummy tuck, and a thin covering of body fat over the ribs and spine. When running your hands along your pet’s body, you should be able to feel the ribs and hips without pressing hard. Reassess your pet’s body condition score weekly to determine if he’s on track to an ideal body weight.
4. Monitor how many treats you feed your pet
Avoid the temptation of giving your pet extra treats and table scraps as those extra calories can add up quickly.
5. Select a food that promotes weight loss
If your pet needs to shed a pound or two, a food specially formulated for weight loss may help. For dogs, NOW FRESH™ Senior, NOW FRESH™ Small Breed Senior, or NOW FRESH™ Large Breed Senior are recommended. For cats, a low carbohydrate canned food is ideal, such as the GO! FIT + FREE™ recipes. A 1-2% body weight loss per week is just right as a rapid decline in weight can be harmful to your pet. If too much or too little weight has been lost during the previous week, adjust the amount of food again until a slow and steady weight loss is achieved. Continue adjusting food intake and assessing body condition weekly until your pet reaches an ideal body weight. Keep at it – your hard work will be worth it!
If you need help selecting a food for your pet, Petcurean’s Health and Nutrition Specialists are available to help. Call them at 1-866-864-6112 or email [email protected]