The numbers speak for themselves – America has a weight problem.
Rather, 53% of dogs in America and 58% of cats are considered either overweight or obese, while in the U.S, currently about ⅓ Of American Adults are also considered obese.
As a result, by the year 2020, about ¾ of Americans are expected to be considered overweight or obese.
It’s clear we are not taking enough steps to tackle the fat – so how can take ownership as guardians to help our pets fight the battle of the bulge? It starts with first, a wakeup call, second, learning how to weigh your pet, third, learning how much weight is too much for your pet, and lastly, changing up your routine to focus on a healthier lifestyle.
A Wake-Up Call
While we’ve established we have an epidemic on our hands, a solution doesn’t require overthinking. First, it starts with getting real about the problem. When you ask a personal trainer or even a nutritionist about how to maintain a healthy weight chances are, they will say it all boils down to diet and exercise. In addition, making the change to eating food that is nutritionally sound – the less process the better – at the right portions to burn off enough energy should ultimately lead to a healthier figure.
How To Weigh Your Pet
Have you weighed your pet lately? Just like you would normally schedule a checkup with your vet, it’s especially relevant to schedule routine check-ins with your pet in the comfort of your own home. You should consider this your “first step” in improving your pet’s health. Every week or two, try to plan “weigh-ins” for your pet.
Step 1.) Weigh Yourself
Step 2.) Lift Your Pet and Then Weigh Yourself
Step 3.) Subtract your weight from the new weight for your pet’s current weight.
Keep a running track of your pet’s weight and note any fluctuations in a notebook – it’ll also give you a good track at your next vet appointment. We recommend sticking the notebook somewhere you already would look for something you use daily (i.e – near their pet food) to keep your weigh-ins top of mind. Having the notebook handy will also let you notice things if you decide to change up their diet, and see if a new food is working – or maybe the pet “likes” a certain food/treat a little too much and it’s adding to the pounds. This will help you take more ownership on your pet’s weight and start “thinking” about it.
How Much Weight Is Too Much?
When you schedule your next vet appointment, your doctor should do a physical examination to see how your pet looks and compare it to its breed standards. That said, if your vet deems your dog is 10-15% over its ideal body weight, you’ll need to take action.
3 Ways To Start A New Healthy Routine For You & Your Pet
So we’ve determined we can all benefit from a healthier lifestyle, and a few ways to establish if there is a problem. How do we make a plan we’ll stick to?
1. Evaluate Your Exercise Routine
On average, a dog should be getting about 30 minutes of physical activity each day, while a cat needs about 10-15 minutes a day, and you (the human) need about 30 minutes a day. So first, start thinking about it: are you helping your animal hit this goal? Then, are you, the person, setting goals to get healthy? If not, bring out that calendar because it’s time to plan! Set up times you know that you and your animal can get healthy, and aim to do it together!
2. Read Your Labels
How good is your food for you? Can you understand the ingredients in most of your food? What about your pet’s? If the answer is no – then chances are, you may need to switch foods.
3. Examine Your Portions
Are you feeding your pet the right amount of food? In addition, are you portioning out your food before you eat? Because to lose weight, and lose the calories, you’ll need to examine what you can cut, so you can burn more energy and lose weight. Therefore, consider sitting down with your vet to discuss options for your pet, and look at your nutrition options. Finally, if you end up looking at a low-calorie food for your pet – learn how you can transition your pet so they’re off to a successful start with their new healthy lifestyle.
15 Fitness Activities Ideas For You & Your Pet
While there are many fitness activities you and your pet can do to get fit, the most important thing is that you try something! Don’t give up trying new activities for your pet.
- Long Distance Running
- Baseball, Or Play Catch
- Obstacle Course
- Chase The Laser Pointer
- Play a Game of Indoor Tag
- Climbing Stairs
- Go Trail Hunting Or Play Follow The Scent
- A Stroll Around The Neighborhood
- Playing Hide & Seek
In conclusion, there are many ways we as Guardians can empower ourselves to help avoid pet obesity.