WWhile many loving pet owners are unaware that their pet may not be at their healthiest weight, the fact is, more than half of cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. , according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Overweight pets tend to be less active, experience joint pain, groom themselves less, and develop more health issues, so taking a proactive approach is important to helping your pets live long and healthy lives. health.

Two of Purina’s animal experts, behaviorist Dr. Annie Valuska and veterinarian Dr. Callie Harris, help by answering frequently asked questions about animal weight issues:

How do you know if your pet is at a healthy weight?

“A great way to start is to give your pet a ‘healthy hug’,” advises Dr. Harris. This includes three stages:

1. Evaluate the odds: Gently place your hands on your pet’s sides. You should be able to run your hands along their chest and feel their ribs without having to “press” or “dig”.

2. Evaluate the size: Stand over your pet. You should be able to see a waistline or an “hourglass” shape.

3. Assess the abdomen: Stand next to your pet. Your pet should have a nice abdominal fold.

“If you think your pets are overweight, consider switching to a weight management food for adult dogs and cats to help them reach and maintain a healthy weight,” she says. “Here are some Purina formulas that I would recommend: Beneful Healthy Weight with Farm-Eleved Chicken Dry Adult Dog Food, which uses smart calorie nutrition to help dogs maintain a healthy weight, Pro Plan Adult Weight Management for cats and dogs, which maintains muscle mass during weight loss, Purina ONE Ideal Weight High Protein for adult cats which helps sterilized cats to burn fat and maintain a healthy weight and Purina ONE Healthy Weight High Protein for adult dogs, which promotes lean mass of your dog and help maintain a healthy body condition even after reaching a healthy weight. “

Dr Harris adds, “It’s also always a good idea to see your vet to rule out potential medical issues that could lead to weight gain.”

How Much Should You Feed Your Pet?

Dr. Harris says, “Make sure you feed your pet the amount listed on your pet’s food labels. You can find specific instructions for Purina products on each food bag. However, if you are still concerned about over or underfeeding, discuss it with your vet so they can assess your pet and make nutritional recommendations. “

Dr Valuska adds, “No matter how hard your pets try to convince you otherwise, giving them table scraps is never a good idea. Eliminate the temptation to give them a bite of your dinner by teaching them to spend meal time away from the table – in a crate, for example – and reward their good manners with animal-friendly treats and praise.

What do you do when your pet begs like he’s still hungry?

Dr Valuska asks, “Are you sure your pet is hungry?” Our first impulse when animals start to pester us is to assume they want food, but animals may actually be asking for attention, exercise, or play. The next time you think your pet is asking for food, try offering them a scratched ear, a fun play session with a favorite toy, or a walk outside.

“If your pet is still hungry, one way to help them feel fuller longer is to extend their meal. Try using slow feed bowls or puzzle feeders. “

How do you make exercise part of your pet’s routine?

Dr Harris says, “An easy way for pet owners with dogs to exercise is to walk them every day. However, if outdoor walks are not possible due to weather conditions, consider creating activities around the house with your dogs, such as “ finding the treat ” using treat mats. You can even be strategic about where you place your food and water bowls to encourage your dog to get up and move.

Dr Valuska adds: “Cats need exercise too! Engage their instincts with a chase game – this can be with a laser pointer, a ball, or a toy on the end of a wand. Some cats prefer to “chase” toys on the ground, while others get more excited when trying to grab toys from the air. Try out different combinations with your cat and see what he prefers. If you are using a laser pointer, be sure to always end the game with the laser on a toy your cat can grab to make sure your cat doesn’t end up feeling frustrated or anxious. “

Helping your pet achieve and maintain a healthy weight is important for their overall well-being. For more resources and to view Purina’s full line of healthy weight formulas, visit www.purina.com/healthypets.

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