How to Keep Your Pets From Overeating
Published on: January 18, 2017 | Author: Starwood Animal Transport
There’s no such thing as a “pleasantly plump” pet. Too much weight is just that – too much. Just as with people, excess weight can increase the risk of all sorts of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and skin diseases. It could even shorten your pet’s life! No one wants that.
It doesn’t take much for pets to become obese. An extra pound or two could be a significant percentage of their total weight. One extra pound on a 10-pound cat or dog is the same as an extra 5 pounds on a 50-pound dog, or an extra 15 pounds on a 150-pound human. At the very least, it’s uncomfortable.
Thankfully, there are many things you can do to keep your pets from overeating.
WHY DO PETS EAT TOO MUCH?
Some dogs and cats seem to have insatiable appetites. They scarf down their meals, and always seem to be on the hunt for more. If it smells or tastes good, they’ll eat it. If it’s in some other pet’s bowl (or on your plate), they’ll try to steal it. Heaven knows what they’re ingesting outdoors. What’s going on here?
Your pet could have a medical problem.
An over- or under-active thyroid, adrenal problems, liver problems, and Cushing’s disease can all cause cats or dogs to overeat. A thorough check-up is in order to make sure your beloved pet doesn’t have a serious underlying health condition.
Your pet could have worms.
Tapeworms and roundworms are intestinal parasites. They literally live off your pet’s food, stealing the nutrients and leaving your kitty or pup without. Your pet is hungry because their body thinks it’s starving. And, in a way, it is. Meanwhile, your poor pet looks tubby because the worms cause their belly to swell.
Your vet can do a simple fecal test to identify and then treat worms. Flea and tick prevention medications provide ongoing protection. Note that roundworms are contagious – to humans as well as other pets -- so don’t wait if you suspect this may be the problem.
Your pet may be a food hog.
Dominant cats and dogs sometimes use intimidation to get what they want. This can be a problem in multiple pet households. You’ll have to join the Food Police and supervise meal times, or else feed each animal in a separate room. This will eliminate overeating and ensure your more docile pets get all the nutrition they need.
Your pet may have emotional issues.
Stress, boredom, and an over-abundance of snooze time can cause overeating. Get your pet moving! More play time, with you or a feline or canine friend. Use puzzle toys to engage their minds as well as their paws. And don't forget about using treats as incentives, so factor that into your feeding plan.
The food you’re offering isn’t good enough.
Sorry, pet parents, but not all dog and cat food is created equal. As noted above, if your pet’s body feels undernourished, it will keep sending “I’m hungry” signals. Choose the highest quality food you can afford – food that features essential nutrition without fillers or unnecessary chemicals.
Today, there is a wealth of dog and cat food products specially-formulated to provide excellent nutrition for pets of different ages and those with health issues, food allergies, and – yes – weight problems. Your vet may recommend one of these for your pet to try.
TIPS TO PREVENT OVERFEEDING
Don’t guess, measure.
It’s easy to overfeed if you eyeball the amount you put in their dish. Check the bag or can to find the correct amount for your pet’s size and age, then measure it.
Don’t allow free-eating.
Try to feed your pet at the same times each day, usually twice. That way, you’ll know exactly how much they’re eating. If your kitty likes to graze, just put out half her daily allotment in the morning and the other half later on.
Curb the snacks!
There’s no point in rigidly enforcing mealtime food allotments if you’re going to dole out unlimited (and probably not-so-healthy) goodies in between. Every calorie counts. And that goes for dog training treats, too.
Did you notice that these reasons for pet overeating also apply to human overeating? We are very different physically from our furry companions, and yet not so different on the inside. Helping your fur-babies maintain a healthy weight will keep them around as long as possible, enjoying life to the fullest.
Looking for more great pet information? Check out our blog where we post articles weekly with great pet information and tips.
Subscribe to the Blog
Enjoy our content? Get them sent to your inbox!