Top tips for pet weight loss

Read these helpful tips to help encourage weight loss in your pet.

  • Weigh your pet regularly
  • Aim to weigh your pet regularly, ideally every month.
  • For cats and small dogs you may be able to do this by standing on the scales with and without him, and calculate the difference.
  • Veterinary surgeries have scales designed for dogs. If your dog is too heavy to lift take it to the veterinary surgery.

Check your pet's body condition score.

  • Cats and dogs come in lots of shapes and sizes, so measuring body condition score (e.g. using the WALTHAM S.H.A.P.E. guide) can be more helpful than bodyweight.

Understand how many calories your pet needs.

  • Every pet is unique and the calories they need will be based on size, age, activity level and whether they are neutered or not.

Understand how many calories you are feeding your pet.

  • Every food is different in terms of how many calories it provides. People are often surprised to learn that dried pet foods have about four times as many calories per gram as wet foods. Treats contain calories too, so account for these as part of your pet's daily intake.

Remove access to the food of other pets.

  • In a household that has more than one pet ensure that each pet only has access to its own food. For example, a dog may try to eat cat food if it is available.

Appoint one member of the household to take responsibility for feeding.

  • It is easy in a busy household to lose track of who is feeding the cat or dog. Make sure that other family members or friends are not also feeding them.
  • Do not leave any food unattended within easy reach of your pet.
  • Do not reward your pet for begging for food as this will only reinforce the behavior.
  • Children often share their food with their pet -- so make sure they do not have the opportunity to do so. It may be helpful to remove your pet from the room during the preparation and eating of meals.

Use rewards other than food.

  • There are ways to reward your pet for good behavior that do not involve eating. For example, most pets love playing. If your pet has a favorite toy you can allow them to play with it for a small amount of time as a reward for good behavior. Or if they enjoy being groomed, then this can be an alternative.
  • If using treats as rewards ensure these are accounted for as part of the pet's daily calorie intake. Alternately, a portion of dry kibbles may be removed from the daily allowance for use as rewards.

Keep your pet active.

  • Most pets enjoy being active and this can also be a rewarding experience for the owner. Do what you can to encourage regular activity.