Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight is just as important for pets as it is for people. An overweight cat or overweight dog is at a much greater risk of developing significant pet health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint issues. An overweight pet also typically isn’t as energetic or playful, which can make it harder for pet parents to notice signs of illness or injury. With some lifestyle changes and gentle exercise, pet parents can help their overweight dog or cat shed a few pounds and improve their overall quality of life. Here are some of the best exercises for an overweight pet.
Weight Loss Starts with Diet
Losing weight starts with good nutrition. In fact, 95% of a pet’s weight loss is diet-related. Pet parents should limit treats and take a look at how much food they’re offering. While most pet foods come with feeding recommendations, several factors play a role in how much an individual cat or dog needs. For the best results, pet parents can consult with the Fuzzy Vet Team to get dog or cat advice on how much food they should be feeding their unique pet.
Exercising for an Overweight Pet
Exercise is a great way to help an overweight cat or dog shed a few pounds and improve their health. However, pet parents will want to be careful when getting started. They should consider their pet’s age, breed, and environment (particularly if they’ll be exercising outdoors). Choosing the right types of exercises will help protect the pet and let them achieve their best results.
Avoid overexerting a pet. Initially, they may struggle to keep up with a vigorous exercise routine. A vet can provide answers to all of a pet parent’s pet health questions and help devise a routine that will work best for the individual pet.
Start with a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time. Depending on the pet (their current health and age), pet parents may also increase intensity.
Go Low Impact
For overweight pets, low impact exercises on softer surfaces are best. When exercising outdoors, pet parents should keep their pet on grass, dirt, or sand. These types of surfaces have some give, which can make them easier on the joints. Pet parents should avoid hard surfaces, repetitive running, and strenuous games and activities (such as fetch), as these can contribute to joint issues.
Try Exercising in Water
Another great low-impact exercise is hydrotherapy (exercising in water). That may entail wading through water on a treadmill or swimming in a pool. Again, these types of exercises don’t put pressure on the joints, which can help reduce the risk of injury while helping a pet lose weight.
Make It Fun
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Pet parents can make it fun. For dogs, pet parents can set up a modified agility course or go for longer walks. For cats, pet parents can use a laser pointer or set up a cat tree for climbing. No matter what activity they choose, pet parents should be sure to avoid overworking their pets.
Keep Pets Healthy and Happy with Exercise
Maintaining a healthy weight is vital to a pet’s overall health and wellbeing. Pet parents can create an exercise plan that works best for their cat or dog with help from the Fuzzy Vet Team. They can get answers to all of their cat health questions or dog health questions 24/7, at the same time, allowing them to ensure that their pet has the best life possible.