Before we start on a weight loss program for your dog or cat, be assured that this is one of the best decisions you will make for your pet. This will be not be quick or easy but the reward is great-a better and longer life for your pet. While these principles are broad in nature, they are basic to weight loss.
- The most important decision is deciding whether or not this is truly important to you. Your long term view must be that you want your fur baby to live longer and healthier. Without that commitment, a weight loss program will fail.
- Everyone in the house must be part of the project. A house divided will fall, likewise a weight loss program for your pet will fail.
- Do not equilibrate food provision with love provision to your pet. Our pets learn very quickly how to manipulate and beg for food. It is easy for us to succumb to their demands. It makes us feel good, like we are expressing love to them. That is not the truth.
- While the use of treats has been advocated to help train your pet, treats are often high calorie. Treats are to be fed in very limited amounts. A small human cookie is half the daily calorie need for a small dog. (A 10-pound dog needs 200 calories daily.)
- You must feed specific meals to manage weight. Most pets will not self- regulate their diet any more than we do when food is constantly in front of us. If you feed free choice, and your pet is obese, then your pet is not self-regulating.
- Recognize that pets which have been surgically altered, have a much lower calorie requirement. Pet food label recommendations are for unaltered animals. Therefore, if you are feeding according to the label, you will be feeding excessively if your pet is altered.