"She's not fat, she's fluffy."
In Sophie's case (a new patient at the Royal Treatment Veterinary Center), she is most certainly fluffy (and all sorts of adorable). However, this isn't always the case for a lot of companion animals. With over half of the pets in the United States overweight, it's becoming more and more difficult for us to discern between fat and "fluffy".
You can ensure your pet maintains a healthy weight by:
1. Feeding less than it says on the can or package! If you're already doing that--feed even less!*
2. Reducing carbohydrates
3. Exercising (and when you aren't, feed less!)
4. Remember that food does not equal love. Think of every treat you give your pet as if it were a candy bar. If you ate candy bars all day, how big would you be?
5. Paying attention to poop! Adult dogs be pooping 1-2 times per day. If they are going more than this, you may need to feed less food.
6. "A dog should have a defined edge to the rib cage, a waist, and hips. You should be able to feel the ribs without applying too much pressure on the chest." -Dr. Barbara Royal
7. Ruling out any hormonal imbalance or adrenal dysfunction. These illnesses can make losing weight hard. If you're doing everything right and your pet is still...fluffy...consult with your vet to make sure there isn't an underlying cause.
*Remember that weight loss for our feline friends should always be done slowly and carefully. They are at a much greater risk for developing other illnesses (like hepatic lipidosis) if we try to get them to lose weight too quickly. Discuss how to best reduce food with your veterinarian.
We here at RAHU love fluffy pets, but we love HEALTHY pets even more!