Help Your Overweight Pet Slim Down

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It’s one thing to point out problems, and quite another to offer solutions. When it comes to trimming excess weight off America’s pets, we veterinarians have gotten tougher about pointing out the problem. Now it’s time to step up and offer solutions.

Actually, that’s the easy part. Because you know, telling someone her dog or cat is fat isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Some folks take it personally, especially if the pet owner — or the bearer of bad news, the veterinarian — is carrying some extra weight as well. But it’s a conversation that we veterinarians must have with you, because being overweight or obese can shorten your pet’s life — and make the life he has nothing short of miserable.

Change Your Pet's Eating Habits

Now … about those solutions. We veterinarians often hear things like, “He begs, and I can’t resist!” or “I’ve tried, but he’s starving.” I understand how you feel, and so does your pet's veterinarian. But you know what? I won't let you give up. There are some simple strategies for helping your pet lighten the load that won't drive your or your pet crazy:

Change foods. The food your pet had as an energetic youngster make not be right for a quieter, middle-aged animal. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s diet. As I always say, pet food doesn’t have to be the most expensive to be “the best.” No matter what your budget is or where you shop, your veterinarian will be able to help you choose a healthy product for your pet. And don’t forget that the perfect match may be food provided by your veterinarian: Therapeutic diets available only from a veterinarian may be what’s needed to get the weight off. These aren't just “light” versions of regular diets, but are specifically formulated to increase lean muscle mass.

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