A discussion of our responsibility as pet owners to ensure that our cats and dogs are healthy and well fed. This includes medical side-effects of obesity on pets and how this can be prevented.


As with humans, obesity has become of major concern to animal healthcare professionals. Veterinarians know that there are hugely detrimental health effects that can stem from petobesity and are increasingly looking to pet owners to improve the quality of their pets’ lives to combat these negative health outcomes. These range from heightened blood pressure, strain on the heart and other organs, joint pain and the threat of diabetes. So what exactly can you do as a responsible pet owner to keep your pet fit and trim?


Just as our children would eat nothing but a diet of sweets and biscuits, so our pets are drawn to high calorie, high fat and sugar treats. We cannot blame them for that since it they are biologically programmed to consume as much as possible to compensate for times of food poverty. This is not to say we should give in to this primitive desire for food. The fact is that your pet is adequately fed and the woofing and miaowing are just triggers to get more than they need. Just as we balance our children’s diets, we need to maintain balance in out pets’ diets. If we responded to every demand for food from our children, who may just be bored or frustrated, they would soon be obese and no more entertained than they were before. However, if we balance food with physical activity and genuine play opportunities, both children and pets thrive. Dutch pet owners will be looking for Pet Slanking in accommodating their pets’ dietary needs, as should all pet owners. Achieving a balance is what is needed.


Nobody wants to diet. And nobody wants to diet less than your pets, who are hard-wired to protect themselves against times of famine. But they have no means of regulating their food intake and as responsible pet owners we need to help them have a balanced, healthy diet without over-indulging in calories. If your pet is overweight, try pet slanking, or dieting, with specialist foods which are designed to help your pet remain slim and trim. If you start with the diet and gradually cut down calorie intake, your pet will begin to feel the benefit within weeks. If you increase their exercise schedule at the same time, you should begin to see results very quickly. If your dog is puffed out after a five minute walk, push him to do six minutes the next day and seven the second. Build up the exercise gradually and soon they won’t notice the difference. With cats, play is the answer. Don’t make feeding time too easy. Put dry food in a cat maze so they need to work to get it. And play with them at other times. Obese cats are hard to engage in play, but it can be done if you tap into their inner kitten.

Ilena Sanchez is a veterinarian specialising in animal nutrition. She writes as a consultant for several animal health organisations. She has seven dogs of her own, all of which are fed Hills Pet food products.