Top 5 Ways to Help Fat Cats and Plump Pooches Slim Down and Sleek Up for 2015

Happy New Year! 2015 is here and this new beginning could be the purrfect time to evaluate your pet’s weight so he starts the New Year targeted for tip-top shape.

For cats, dogs and humans, extra pounds can contribute to serious illnesses, shortened lives, lowered energy and less fun. Super Smiley, who fights the battle of the bulge, chimes in here for the pleasantly plump dogs, and then I’ll address the curvaceous kitties.

Super Smiley here now with the skinny on overweight dogs. Did you know that living at our best weight could help add two years to our lives?

It’s estimated that in the U.S., 45 percent of dogs are overweight! That’s over 35 million dogs! We want to run and play and have lots of energy, but we also love to eat and then just hang out and nap, so we need our people to help us out to keep us fit and trim. Here are some things that I think could work real well:

  • Exercise and play: We dogs love hide and seek. You can play this outside or in the house. It’s great ’cause it gets our hearts goin’ and our legs movin’! If you are too tired to run around, then throw us something for a game of fetch! Or consider getting a second dog — we love friends! Start with a walking schedule. Studies have shown that people stick to their own exercise schedules better when it involves their dog. See, you help us, and we help you right back! After a week or so of walking, decide if we are fit enough to jog a little. And if your dogs are trained with a good heel, you may want to try a bike ride with us. But if you do that, be sure to ride away from traffic so we are all safe!  Swimming: that’s good for people, too, and easy on the joints! And, when you aren’t playing with us, you can leave interactive toys with us that will keep us moving and stimulated so we don’t just lie down and sleep all day. Take us to a group obedience or agility class. That will be good exercise for you and your dog!
  • Give us treats! Treats of carrots, broccoli, apples and green beans! They are packed with nutrients and low in calories. I love carrots and share them with Starfire, my horse, every day!
  • Be consistent: Measure how much you have been feeding your dog and consistently measure out how much he should be allowed in order to loose weight. The trick here is to actually measure it consistently. When measuring, you can also allow part of his food allotment to be the broccoli, string beans, apples and carrots. 
  • Feeding schedule: Breaking up our daily food allowance into two feedings will help improve digestion and keep us from feeling starved during the day. Don’t free feed. Even if our meal looks like just a tiny little bit, remember this regimen will help us get healthy and slim.
  • Keep up with his weight! Overweight dogs should loose only 1-2 percent of their body weight per week. If this isn’t happening, talk to your vet! And, like with the kitties, it’s a good idea to do a vet check before you start the diet to make sure his new diet is good to go! Your vet can also help you pick a diet food and plan that will best support your dog.

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I speak from experience, I’m a beefy dog and sometimes my weight goes up. So Megan cuts back my food a little, and in a month or so, I’m back lookin’ good. It may seem hard, but really it’s just a decision and these are some pretty good tools to get you started.

As promised, I’m back and here for the kitties. Fat cats are cute and cuddly, but as little as two extra pounds can put them at risk for medical issues like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Where do we even start when your cat has become heavy, lies around all the time, won’t play and demands food constantly?

  • First, determine if your cat has a health issue before beginning a diet. Your veterinarian can give you the go ahead and can estimate the optimal body weight for your cat’s build and age. If your cat is obese, you may start by aiming for an initial target weight, and when that is met, reevaluate her program for her ideal weight. With a weight goal in mind, your veterinarian can calculate the number of calories she should get per day. To give you an idea, the average domestic cat weights between 8-10 pounds and should eat about 180-210 calories per day.
  • Next, the diet. There are many diet cat foods available and your veterinarian can recommend one best for your cat based upon her examination. Break up the full day’s feeding into six small meals rather than one or two larger ones. Eating more often may help keep her from feeling hungry or even panicked when she doesn’t see that full free-feed bowl there. Feeding a moist diet food is good because even finicky eaters are more likely to eat the moist food and often the moist food is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than dry food.
  • How do I start? Allow one to two weeks to fully introduce and integrate the new weight loss food into her diet. Do this by feeding ¼ new diet food with ¾ regular food for a few days. Then move that ratio to half and half for two days. Then to ¾ diet food and ¼ regular for two days, then to all diet food. And, to make it tastier, you can heat it or add some tuna juice or a veterinarian approved omega 3 fatty acid supplement.
  • Exercise: Play with your cat. Encourage her to play by stimulating her prey drive with interactive toys and pull strings. Get her a climbing tree and rub it with catnip to encourage climbing and interaction. Feed her in different areas of the house by moving her food bowl from room to room to encourage her to walk and move.
  • A few more tricks: Replace prepackaged treats with a morsel of tuna. If your cat meows for some snack food, try giving her some fresh water in a cup. Some cats love to drink out of their people’s cups and a few laps might settle her until dinner. Fix her a “perch” by a window where she can spy! This will encourage her to move about the house, up and down and will discourage her from napping all day. And, it’s good to know that most cats will reach their goal weight in six to eight months.

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Like Smiley said, this may seem very challenging, but it is also very doable. It’s a lifestyle choice that you can make for you and for your pet that can enhance the quality of your lives and may even lengthen your time together.

Until Next Time,
Woof and Super Smiles from,
Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®


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