It really depresses me to see an overweight cat or dog. They usually know they’re overweight too and actually seem embarrassed by it. I once left my cats with my Father for a prolonged period and when I came home they would have made Rerun from “What’s Happening” proud of his personal physique. When a dog or cat gets overweight they usually gain weight sideways but one of my cats had gained so much weight he had also started to expand up and down. It was very depressing to say the least and I had always taken great pride in keeping my cats fit. This seemed like an impossible task but I was determined to get them back in shape for their and my own happiness.

The following are the keys to how I did get them to lose weight. I would consult with your vet before making any drastic changes.

1. I made sure they had no access to human food. I didn’t leave dishes out and always threw away the garbage immediately.

2. I changed their feeding schedule. Most American cats and dogs eat the way Americans do, which is a few large meals a day. They say it’s better to eat more meals but with smaller quantities. So instead of feeding my cats two large meals a day I started to feed them 5 small meals a day. Sure there was a transition period where they drove me crazy but the same thing happens when you want to feed your pets at a different time. In both cases if you stick with it your pets will adjust.

3. The type of food you feed alone can contribute to your pets weight problem. Not all pet foods are right for your pet and you need to consult your vet to decide what is best in regards to fat, protein and carb’s. The answer to this question will also depend on how active your dog is.

4a. I got them back into exercising. You can click the following link to view a post I wrote about how to exercise your cat.

4b. In regards to exercising your dog there are many possibilities. One of the best ways to tire out a dog is to take them running. Almost any dog can run – even a pug, bulldog or boxer. You just need to start slow and gradually increase your distance every week. If you have a dog who likes to fetch or you want to teach your dog to fetch that is another great exercise your dog will surely love.

A misconception is that outdoor dogs do not need exercise but this is not true. The majority of dogs who roam free or spend their days in a yard spend most of their time sleeping in the shade, waiting for a human to play with.

Some quick ideas to keep your dog occupied mentally and physically:

1. When you take walks give your dog a task like carrying the newspaper or a toy.

2. Let your dog play with other dogs.

3. Play hide and seek with either yourself or an object.

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