When your dog doesn't seem interested in eating his food, do you know what to do? When your dog vomits often, could there be something serious wrong with him? If he struggles to get up the stairs, does he need to see a vet? Having never owned an older dog, I knew nothing about the things that can begin to go wrong when dogs age. I adopted this guy when my neighbor moved into a nursing home and had to learn a lot about how to care for an older dog. My blog is filled with the many things that I have learned over the last year through the help of my vet.
Kittens seem to have a constant source of energy to run, jump and play. Your adult cat may have spurts of energy, but more often enjoys napping in the sun. A more sedentary lifestyle, and poor eating habits, cause adult cats to become overweight. Here is how you can help your cat get rid of those pounds and keep themselves healthy and trim as they age.
Get a Professional Opinion First
When you first notice your cat's rounded tummy, take them to the pet hospital and have your vet look at them. There are cat diseases that cause weight gain, such as hyperthyroidism. Don't waste time trying to get your cat to slim down when you should be treating them for a disease. When your cat gets a clean bill of health, then you can start their weight reduction program.
Start With Lower Calorie Food
Your vet can recommend some healthy brands that make food for the less active cat. In the pet food store, these foods may be marked as for indoor or senior cats. These are high protein foods with less carbohydrate fillers, such as rice. The protein gives your cat the energy it needs. Fewer carbs mean less fat production in your cat.
Introduce these foods to your cat over a couple of weeks. Most cats don't like change, especially in their food bowl. If they've been getting the same food for a long time, a change may put off their eating schedule. Give them a little of the new food at first, and gradually increase the amount of it in their bowl.
Wet or Dry Food?
Dry cat food contains more high calorie fillers than the wet variety because it's a more compact form of nutrition. Look at the ingredients label for the dry food and select those which list animal protein first and have fewer grains. The grains, especially rice, wheat flour and corn meal, are essentially fillers as your cat gets little nutritional benefit from them.
The water in wet food helps your cat digest its food. Wet cat food is a good choice if your cat does not often drink from the water bowl. Hydration is also important in older cats in which kidney issues are common. The additional water keeps toxins flushed out of the kidneys.
The choice may come down to your cat. Some cats prefer dry over wet food. If you buy a high protein, low carbohydrate food, whether it's wet or dry, your cat will lose weight. What may be more of a factor is how you feed your cat.
Change Your Feeding Routine
Many cats are grazers and will go back to their food dishes several times throughout the day. Knowing this, you may over-feed them, so your cat always has something in their bowl when they go back for a "snack." For weight control, you should give your cat the amount of food needed to give them the calories they require, and no more. For the average cat, this is slightly less than one cup of dry food and less than six ounces of wet. Get used to measuring out their food at feeding time and don't give them more no matter how much they beg.
Help Your Cat Get More Exercise
As with humans, diet is just part of a weight loss program. Help your cat to be more active by scheduling a couple of play times together every day. Put several cat toys out and get your cat to run and jump. String toys, wands with feathers or yarn at the end, and catnip-filled toys stimulate your cat to play. Just a couple of sessions for a few minutes each day will help your cat burn off the calories. Contact a company like Orange Grove Animal Hospital for more information.