It’s easy to miss those extra pounds our Tripawds could be wearing. Thankfully it’s easier for dogs and cats to lose weight than it is for us. If you suspect your dog or cat is exceptionally “fluffy,” then sit back and learn these weight loss ideas for pets on three (and four!) legs. Your guide today is the acclaimed pet weight loss veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM.
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“The most important decision that pet parents make every day regarding their pet’s health is what they feed it,” says Dr. Ward. “You’ve got the most powerful tool in your hand: the ability to precisely measure food every day,” he explains. Most pet parents are shocked to learn that even exercise is not as important as the amount and type of food put in a pet’s bowl each day.
Dr. Ward is founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an organization dedicated to recognizing, treating and preventing pet obesity. We learned so much from Dr. Ward in this Tripawd Talk Radio episode.
For instance, he tells us that “Weight loss in dogs and people is about 60 to 70 percent of what we eat, and only 30 to 40 percent what we burn,” says Dr. Ward. “For cats it’s 90 percent diet and only 10 percent exercise. So if you’re going to play the numbers game you focus much more on the food bowl.”
Tripawd Dog Weight Loss Tips
Since Tripawds are more limited on the type of exercise they should be doing in order to burn calories, Dr. Ward has some interesting advice that’s different for cats and dogs.
“If you have a Tripawd dog,” he says, “You’ll need to make sure that you are looking at calories. You have to count calories. People with regular dogs, maybe can get away with not being attentive to those details. But YOU have to be very careful. If you go to my website petobesityprevention.org we have all kinds of pet weight loss calculators and calorie calculators. But that’s a starting point. You really want to work with your vet,” he says.
“If you’ve got a dog with three legs and you’re going ‘I can’t help him stay at a healthy weight because he can’t exercise,’ I say ‘Wrong!’ Because you’ve got the most powerful tool in your hand and that is the ability to precisely measure food every day,” he adds. “So if they’re getting overweight it’s not because of a lack of exercise it’s because of a lack of attention to calories.”
Tripawd Cat Weight Loss Tips
When it comes to Tripawd cat weight loss tips, things get more complicated explains Dr. Ward. “For cats its a whole different equation because the physiology, the energy systems they use, it’s all different. For cats it’s 90 percent diet and only 10 percent exercise. That’s because cats use glycogen for energy, which is a sugar, as opposed to dogs and humans (we use fatty acids as our primary energy source). So dogs and cats are completely different when it comes to their nutritional needs and calorie burns and all these things,” he says. The trickier nature of feline physiology is why it’s so important to work with your vet to help your cat lose weight.