Cat & Dog Weight Loss
It can seem cute to see a fat dog or cat rumbling around the house, but you may not realize that the extra heft can cause serious health problems and hide your pet’s lovable personality.
More than half of U.S. dogs and cats are overweight or obese*, placing them at higher risk of developing diseases such as diabetes or painful osteoarthritis.*
The good news is that pet obesity is largely avoidable. Prevention is the best defense. You can start by exploring this page to learn how to tell if your cat or dog is overweight.
If you do have a hefty pet, you’ll also discover how to develop a winning weight loss strategy with our Fat Cats® or Fat Dogs® Low Calorie formulas.
Helping your dog or cat achieve a healthy weight can be a challenge, but it will be worth it to see them strut their stuff over a long, healthy lifetime!
What is pet obesity?
Obesity is the excessive accumulation of body fat. It is the most common form of overnutrition in pets, and it can have profoundly negative effects on body function.
To determine if your pet is overweight or obese, consult your veterinarian or use this Body Condition Score (BCS) chart.
What causes pets to become overweight or obese?
The short answer is that obesity develops when daily energy intake (i.e., caloric intake) consistently exceeds daily energy expenditure.
Factors that can lead to obesity include easy access to food, low activity, stress, medications, spaying or neutering (especially for male cats), and genetics (e.g., certain dog breeds are more predisposed to obesity).
What are some of the health risks associated with obesity?
For starters, obesity can cause or exacerbate:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes
- Joint stress and destruction that can cause painful osteoarthritis
This is a short list of the possible health conditions associated with pet obesity, which can shorten your dog or cat’s life.
My pet needs to lose weight. How can I help?
First, talk with your veterinarian. Second, set a realistic weight loss goal; generally, a 10% reduction in body weight over 5–10 weeks.
Our Fat Dogs® and Fat Cats® Low Calorie Formulas were specifically designed for pets with very low energy needs and those that need to lose weight. A weight loss plan that includes one of these diets and increased activity can help your pet achieve a healthy weight.
Do your Fat Dogs® and Fat Cats® formulas do the same thing as the Reduced Calorie formulas?
No. Our Reduced Calorie formulas are ideal for pets that have lower energy needs, such as breeds that are prone to weight gain and older pets.
Compared to our Reduced Calorie formulas, Fat Dogs® has 15% less calories and Fat Cats® has 13% less calories. The low calorie content of these formulas makes them ideal for pets with very low energy needs and pets that really need to lose weight.
Aside from reducing calories, how can Fat Dogs® and Fat Cats® formulas help my pet achieve a healthy weight?
Research shows that the most effective weight loss diet also offers a protein level that helps maintain a lean body, plus added fiber to help with satiety and reduce begging behavior.
Our Fat Dogs® and Fat Cats® formulas combine these scientific principles with a taste that your pet will love.
Any other tips for helping my overweight pet reach a healthy weight?
While pet weight loss is simple in concept, it can be a challenging journey. Human and pet behaviors both need to change. More tips for weight loss include:
- Feed multiple, smaller meals - This may help your pet feel fuller throughout the day.
- Increase activity - For dogs, start with short, slow walks of about 5 minutes. Then add a few minutes every week. For cats, increase interactive play, especially in the evening.
- Avoid giving extra calories - Choosing one person in the house to feed the pet can prevent extra feedings. Avoid feeding table scraps.