Pet spotlight: Putting Fido and Felix on a diet


People aren’t the only ones fighting a battle of the bulge. It turns out, in many homes, our pets are overweight or obese too.

In fact, a recent study suggested that being too heavy cut up to 10 months off a dogs life particularly for breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels and Beagles with common complications including arthritis, diabetes, respiratory problems and kidney disease.

Cats are suffering too. A study of feline diabetes found that more than half of indoor cats are dangerously overweight.

And obesity isn’t just a quality of life issue for pets. Insurance claims or medical costs if your pet doesn’t have insurance are rising astronomically too.

Pet dieting can be challenging but many of the most effective ways for us to lose weight also apply to our best friends:

  • Count calories: Pet food feeding guidelines usually apply to un-spayed or un-neutered active dogs and cats so if your pet is spayed or neutered and doesn’t get out much, you’re probably feeding him or her about 25% too many calories. Your veterinarian is the best person to ask.
  • Good measure: If you tend to fill your pets bowl by sight, you’re likely overfeeding. Use a measuring cup. Portion control is a key to bringing your pets weight down.
  • Snack attack: Snack munching for humans often happens under the radar we eat more than we care to admit and what we do eat tends to be high in sugar and fat. Limit your pets snacks to low-calorie, healthier items like fruits and vegetables as well as salmon and tuna.
  • Ear plugs: Dogs and cats are smart and they likely know that, with a little whining, you’ll refill their bowl a few more times than necessary. Your pets crying may break your heart but don’t cave wear ear plugs if you have to!

How have you kept your pets weight in check? Please share your own experiences in the Shop Talk Blog community forum!



Did you know: It could be medical

If diet and exercise aren’t bringing your pets weight down, there might be an underlying medical condition like low thyroid levels or an excess of adrenal hormones. Ask your veterinarian to look into it. (Source)

23 thoughts on “Pet spotlight: Putting Fido and Felix on a diet

  1. I measure my 4 yr old kitti kats food everyday and limit her treats and play a game tithe the treats. She has maintained her weight for about 3 yrs now.
    Hashi’s mom

  2. Had a site where there was anything wrong with my cat went on this site and someone had the right answer. That site save my cat
    Does anyone know the name of site

  3. Your blog mentions using a measuring cup to monitor portion control, but does not suggest an amt. I know that this likely is different depending on the breed, however I would like to know whether I am feeding my dogs too much. I have a bichon-freeze/shitz-su cross as well as a llapsa-apso cross (terrior or shitz-su).

  4. My dog has mild Cushings disease and tracheal collapse. Both conditions are made worse by being overweight. My Hlasa Apso gained one kg in 18 months and was becoming more symptomatic. She is on a special hepatic diet and must have low protein diet. After much research I decided to cut her diet in half which resulted in her starting to eat grass. In order to provide volume I filled out her meals with cooked frozen vegetables such as green beans, carrots and peas. She has lost 0.4 of a kilo in five months. Recent blood work show a marked improvement In her liver issues and the Cushings numbers dropped somewhat, indicating she has stabilized. I will continue until she loses another 0.6 kilo and will continue to supplement her diet with vegetables. The vet is very pleased and surprised to see how good this ten year old is doing. She gets three walks daily and has ever since we got her at the age of six months, rain or shine and even in severe cold and snowy weather.

  5. I always get rescue “mutts” my family has since before my birth. We feed them the cheapest food we can find, keep the brand consistent and all our dogs have lived passed their expected years and had no health issues

  6. It would be a great idea to advise pet owners what treatments (drugs) could be substituted by Drug Store off the shelf treatments for infected eyes, ears annd infected wounds. The price a pet owner has fork out to animal doctors in a crime. Seniors on pensions cannot afford the high prices and and animals often suffer.

  7. I know with our oldest cat it is a struggle to keep her weight under control as she knows how to play both of us with treats. We stopped buying them but while my parents where visiting she would not stop bugging so they bought her 4 bags. Our dog on the other hand will not eat regular dog food so we have to make his food and treats. Youngest cat will eat what ever and never gains weight.

  8. Yes I know that’s why my dog Harley gets regular vet checks and eats only blue buffalo dog food. Plus the soft food and there brand of dog cookies . No human food not good for them and greenie bars for her teeth. Daily runs and walks and swims at the lake keep her healthly and me to.

  9. People who have newly acquired a puppy need to be told that by the time the dog is fully grown (about a year old) the amount of food they require should be cut back as they are no longer growing. This will prevent Fido from getting fat. In a small dog a pound or two makes a big difference although it doesn’t sound like much. Remember that in comparison to his body weight that pound or two can translate to 10 -20%

    In the summer my dog and I have longer and more frequent walks as compared to the winter months. Since he’s small and has short legs, walking on snow and ice is more difficult for him and I’m not a fan of the cold weather either.

  10. am very fortunate to have been trained to always measure my pets foods and limit snacks with kibble from their meals. My mom always did this it seems to work with plenty of exercise daily. Rain or shine, 40C below we are playing fetch and frisbee to burn off extra energy. walking can some times be a challenge. I give thanks for a very large fenced yard

  11. Take a good look at your cat/dog food – if it sounds like something you wouldn’t eat, don’t feed it to you animals.

  12. I just had my kitty (1 yr) in to see her vet, last Monday. She is an indoor cat, and spayed. So, I do have to watch her calorie intake, and measure her dry. She does have her moist, morning and evening. We did cover diet. She is still busy, but I need to watch her treats. You recomment fruit, or veggie treats, Are they available to cats? Her moist food has veggies, rice, and meat. I would like to hear more. Thank you.

  13. Cats and dog do best on a prescription weight loss diet from a veterinary clinic. I have been a veterinarian for 30 years and have seen great weight loss successes with foods from a veterinarian. I have also seen many many people frustrated with a lack of weight loss from pet store or grocery store brands of food. Take your pet in for an examination with a veterinarian and get a proven weight loss food and treats.

  14. I personally have a different outlook on the subject of feeding animals. I have raised all my cats and dogs from the infant stage. From my experience if you leave a full dish of food in front of your animal at all times, the animal will never feel overly hungry and as a result tend to not overeat. Therefor your animal will not have to gobble down food because it will not know when the next feeding time is. Using this tecnique and train of thaught I personaly have never had an overweight animal. nor have my animals been underweight.

  15. i thought it would be hard to reduce my dog’s portions when the vet said he was over weight. I had let things slide when he got sick and I thought we were losing him. Now I put what seems to be a measly amount in his bowl and he acts the same as if it were double the amount. I realize I have the problem, not him. If he ever asks for more I just engage him in another activity for about 5 mins like I did when he was young and it passes.

  16. I’ve had a heavy cat that by counting calories and playing games he lost 10 pounds in 6months. I also read the ingredients of the different foods and bought the one that had meat as the first ingredient. It cost more but it was better quality.

    Love my kitties.

  17. I have 4 dachshunds, 2boys 2 girls. My oldest is almost 12. He is a loving very good natured boy and also very happy. Recently, l was giving them quite a few liver treats. They love them. Abbot (oldest) began to get diahoria very badly. When l took him to the vet, they could not find anything wrong with him. He was still active and eating, but the problem was that l never thought about the treats l was giving them. I stopped the treats and within a week or two he was completely over the problem. I do wonder if it is because he is getting older and cannot digest the higher fatty and higher calorie foods. He is fine right now and l am happy that he is okay. Too bad for the other 3 dogs as the treats did not bother them. Oh well l guess they wonder what happened…….They are all fined

  18. We inherited my Moms cat after she passed on so of course the first thing we did was to get MOMMA CAT a check-up with Brenda Sparks our vet over in Dewberry. Alberta. She was just fine but turned out to be a lot older than what we thought. The vet said she was around 77 in our age-well that made us change her diet of course as we thought she was a younger cat. She had been raised in my Moms apartment also and when she came to us well we introduced her to the GREAT OUTDOORS and we think that maybe that is why we just assumed she was younger. She was running all over the place and chasing leaves and bugs and anything that moved. We took her off the indoor diet food that my Mom had her on and bought some senior food along with a few mixed cans of fish and of course she just loves her hairball hard and god-forbid if we forget to buy her treats. She was never very vocal all the years Mom had her but boy can she talk now! She has become our child as we approach our senior years.I am glad we took her.

  19. As a kitten, I asked my vet how much food to feed my pet each day. I buy a good quality cat food, not the most expensive but one vet approved. Each year at his check up, I discuss my cat’s food intake and water intake. I only give treats for good behaviour, like using his scratching post instead of my new couch! These treats are actually dental treats sold by the vet. At the most he gets a four or five treats every few days. I am taking care of his teeth at the same time. That’s it, no people food except the water my tuna is packed in. My cat is now going on three and is a good weight and is full of energy.

  20. Our vet has put our dog on a very strict diet and she is 8 years old and is losing weight slowly but losing it. She does get a treat every day. One in the a.m. and one in the p.m.

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