Before we get started lets talk about why this is important.
Almost 50% of all adult dogs and cats are overweight. Obesity in your pet increases the risk of serious diseases such as: osteoarthritis, diabetes (in cats), several different types of cancer, heart diseases, and respiratory diseases. Another complication that presents itself is if your pet needs to undergo surgery. Obesity can cause problems with anesthesia for surgery and operations. As well as having these problems, your pet will have a lower energy level over all and that can prevent them from staying active.
If you don’t know what a healthy weight for your pet is my colleague has created a nice list of healthy weights for different breeds of dogs and cats here.
The best way to help your pet maintain a healthy weight is to help yourself maintain a healthy weight. Make time in your day to go on a brisk walk or jog with your pet. This will help keep your pet healthy and active. If you simply can not make time to go out with your dog, then let them out in your yard. Or you can bring them to a dog park so they can chase squirrels and just run around.
For most people, getting your cat to go for a walk would be quite a difficult task, so here are some things you can do with your cat to keep them active: Buy a laser pointer made for cats (other pointers can be dangerous). Most cats love to chase that red dot and it is great exercise for them as well as entertainment for yourself. For someone who does not have the time to do that, there are several automated toys that you should get for your cat (including automated laser pointers).
The next time you visit the pet store, look for toys such as electronic mice that scurry all around your house for your cat to chase, circular tubes with a ball inside for your cat to play with by itself, regular old ball will work for some cats, and many more.
Often times simply changing what food your pet eats can have a big impact on their health. First you should make sure that you are feeding your pet the right food for their age, species, and size. If you are not sure what this would be then ask your vet what food you should be buying. You should also ask how often to feed them, as well as serving size. Sometimes its not the type of food but the frequency of feeding that can cause obesity in pets.
Another cause of pet obesity is feeding them food from the table. A lot of human food has ingredients that are toxic to dogs and can cause several major health risks. Feeding your pet food from the table can also interrupt the healthy balance that they get from their own food.