Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

How To Reduce Stress In Cats
How To Reduce Stress In Cats

Pudgy Pooches & Tubby Tabbies: How to Slim Down Fat Pets

by | Oct 12, 2022 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care | 16 comments

Pudgy Pooches & Tubby Tabbies: How to Slim Down Fat Pets

fat dog obesityIt’s National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on October 12. Do you live with fat pets? Or maybe you struggle with your weight, like me. A couple of my friends look terrific after they’ve recently lost weight. I found it. *sigh* The problem also affects fat pets, and at my house, that’s spelled KARMA-KAT.

It’s not that I don’t know how to eat right, I do. It just takes more thought and planning, and I’ve let a lot of that slide as I tried to meet deadlines. It’s a whole lot easier to stay on top of the pet’s nutrition and waistline than my own.

fat pets

This 3 year old Rottweiler is prone to early arthritis and other ailments.

Fat Pets & What To Do

Is your pooch pudgy or fat? Are your cats slim athletes or fat cats? Does your dog or cat gobble food? Obesity is defined as exceeding ideal body weight by 20 percent, and today about forty percent of pets are considered overweight. If you can’t feel the pet’s ribs, and/or she has a pendulous or bulging tummy, your pet is too plump. Obesity increases risk for diabetes, and is an aggravating factor in heart problems, arthritis, and skin problems. Puppies are cute when chubby but that puts them at risk as well.

I was fortunate that Magic was a canine athlete. An active canine companion helps humans stay active, too, so now that he’s gone, it’s an extra effort to get exercise. Seren also was always petite and active, even though she ate anything and everything.

Karma-Kat, though, is a picky eater but packs on the pudge. It would take very little for him to become a fat pet. I’ve written about how to slim a fat cat here, but the information works for dogs, too. If you have an overweight fat pet, here are some tips for helping to slim down tubby tabbies and pudgy pooches. Heck, I’m using some of these tips on myself!

fat pets

Crash diets with fat cats can lead to deadly fatty liver disease.

How to Slim Your Fat Pets

Curb Snacks. Eliminating or reducing treats easily cuts calories. Instead, reserve part of the pet’s regular diet—a handful of kibble, for instance. Keep it handy to dispense as “treats” when your dog pesters, or reward with attention, not treats. In my case, I’ve got some fresh cut veggies prepared ahead. Now, if celery came with chocolate chips, I’d be happier. You can still use treats to enrich your relationship and make cats like you.

Meal Feed. Rather than keeping the bowl full for all day nibbling, switch to meal feeding measured amounts. Divide the daily food allotment into four or even five small meals keep her from feeling deprived. Multiple small meals increase the body’s metabolic rate, so she burns more calories faster. (Hey, this works for me, too, when I can manage to do it.) Karma-Kat now is fed 5 times a day, and must HUNT for his meals. Read all about this hunting feeding system here.

Offer Diet Foods. Reducing diets typically replace fat in the food with indigestible fiber, dilute calories with water, or “puff up” the product with air. “Senior” diets typically have fewer calories, so switching older pets to an age-appropriate formula helps. “Lite” diets aren’t magical and only mean the food has less calories than the same brand’s “regular” food—it might have more calories than another company’s food. Some pets eat more of the diet food to make up for lost calories, so you still have to measure the meals. Be sure to check with your vet before deciding to make major nutrition changes, though. Cats don’t do “crash diets” well and can get very sick with a liver condition (hepatic lipidosis) that can kill.

leash train catsGo For A Walk.  Make twice-daily 20 minute exercise part of your routine. Cats won’t power walk, but a slow to moderate stroll at the end of the leash once or twice a day around the house or garden will help burn energy. Just the excitement of getting “suited up” with a halter burns calories for some kitties. Check out this post on how to leash train cats.

Create A Treasure Hunt. Put food at the top or bottom of the staircase, or on a cat tree so kitty has to get off her pudgy nether regions to eat. If she can’t manage stairs or leaps, put the bowl on a chair and provide a ramp up so he’s burning a few calories. That’s what we do now with Karma’s “mousie meals.” Setting the bowl across the house from the dog or cat’s bed also forces them to move. Use commercial treat balls, puzzle toys like Kongs or interactive feeders and place meals inside so the pet has to work to get out the food. For pets that eat canned foods, there are also refrigerated feeders or insulated bowls that help keep it fresh.

Here are more tips on how to slim a tubby tabby. Pet Obesity Prevention also has a great breakdown of Body Condition Scores (plus ideal weight ranges & pet weight loss tools!) here.

How do you handle your pudgy fat pets? Pets impact our lives in so many positive ways, it’s important to return the favor. Does he or she eat a special diet, or do you try to increase exercise in some way? What tricks work for your clowder, please share! Obesity impacts more than looks. It’s also a longevity issue. Slim dogs and cats live up to two years longer than overweight pets.

I wonder if they make “puzzle toy feeders” for humans?

 

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

16 Comments

  1. Kimberly, The Fur Mom

    Sydney gained a lot of weight and she suffers from arthritis – so we had to be careful about her exercise until we had her pain under control. We cut back on food and treats and took her on short walks. Now she plays with her brothers, has tons of energy, and can manage a 2-3 mile walk.

    It’s so much easier to help them lose weight. Wow! Now I workout just to be able to keep up with three active dogs!

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Kimberly–you’re very right, that with arthritic pets the discomfort has to be addressed before you’ll get much progress on the exercise front. So glad Sydney is doing so well!

  2. Sue, the crazy cat lady

    The second cat we had was a Russian Blue by the name of Felix. We thought that he was a she until he walked away from me and it became evident that our Belle was a Boe. We left food out all the time and I have a picture of him stretched out full length, hooking a piece of food with his claw. But when he would stick his paw in the water dish and lick it off, that was when we realized that he needed to be fed on a schedule. It was a challenge to convince him that he didn’t need to eat all the time. But eventually we got him on a schedule. Now we save “treats” (actually food in a small plastic container) for when they get their claws clipped. If they let me do it with a minimum of fuss, they get a treat. Positive reinforcement.

    • Amy Shojai

      LOL Sue, I can just picture the kitty stretched out and reaching for food! It’s ideal when cats are able to “self regulate” so you can leave food out for them to munch. They should only eat maybe a mouthful or two at a time (a dozen kibbles, or a tablespoon of canned). But too many eat mindlessly (sort of like me with popcorn while reading a book, LOL!).

      Great idea about the nail clipping! Positive reinforcement works.

  3. emma

    Mom is an animal lover above all but she is also a fitness freak and she enjoys snacking, so, us dogs are her fitness buddies. No need for a diet or gym membership when you stay active with your dogs. Just walk or run a bit more and you can eat more chips or dog snacks. In the summer people comment on mom’s toned arms and ask if she is at the gym a lot, um no…she uses heavy leashes, one of us dogs in each hand and it keeps her arms toned, the walking the legs and she tries to work on her posture which helps the abs…take advantage of us dogs, we love exercise and it is good for us all…the fresh air also often keeps you from getting sick

    • Amy Shojai

      Emma, you are a very wise soul. *s* When I was without a dog, I gained a bunch of weight and then it all came off when we got Magical-Dawg.

  4. Vicki Cook

    Zora has a tendency to pudge up, so I carefully limit how much she eats (no more free feeding) and walk her daily. The walks are good for me too since I also have a tendency to pudge up!

    • Amy Shojai

      I suppose that I should invest in a stair master with a computer attachment so I’d get more exercise! It’s all this sitting that’s giving me extra ass-ets. 🙂

  5. Human Rescues Dog

    This is an ongoing battle for us every day! The hardest part (for the dog-parent) is giving up the treats! The dogs probably wouldn’t miss it after a couple of days, but we worry about it.

    • Amy Shojai

      Whenever my husband or I have a meal or a treat, both the cat and dog are RIGHT THERE expecting something. I try to tell them, “You don’t share YOUR bowl with me.” But they have selective hearing. *s* I think you’re right, though, that the dogs get used to routine and if treats are not ever offered, they won’t miss them.

  6. Peggy Frezon

    My dog Kelly and I both had a few extra pounds, and we both slimmed down together (and wrote the book, Dieting with my Dog). Also, Amy, we’d love for you to join in on FitDog Friday, a new blog hop every Friday co-hosted by Peggy’s Pet Place, Slimdoggy, and To Dog With Love. We’re trying to get people excited about getting fit with their dogs!

    • Amy Shojai

      Hey Peggy, what a neat idea! I’ll put it on my calendar for the blog hop. *s*

  7. Patricia H.

    Amy do you think genetics plays any part in a pets tendency to be pudgy?

    • Amy Shojai

      Absolutely, it plays a role. In fact, certain breeds appear to have a predisposition to gaining weight, just like people. There are “fat storers” and “fat burners.” So it’s helpful to anticipate so we can help the pet stay at a best weight for them. *s*

  8. Frank Steele

    Wow! How timely! Koko really needs to slim down, and this helps a lot. Thank you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy Healthy Cat Month: 10 Ways to Promote Kitty Purrs - […] Slim Tubby Tabbies. Feline obesity is a huge problem in this country, and one way to combat it is…
  2. How to Make Cats FriendyAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] paws whether or not s/he will indulge. Of course, we don’t want over-nutrition to create tubby Tabbies so it’s…
  3. Food Obsessed Pets: Here's Why Pets Gobble Food & What to DoAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] In domestic dogs, she says speed of eating seems to be a breed-specific characteristic. Certain breeds of dogs swallow…
  4. Spoil Your Cat Every Day: How to Show Cats You Love ThemAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] training)—and vice versa. That raises the potential for putting on pudge so you need to find healthy ways to…
  5. Spoil Your Dog Day: 8 Ways to Spoil Your Dog with LoveAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] to our vet). But extra treat-love raises the potential for putting on pudge so you need to find healthy…

Categories:

Recent Posts

7 Tips How to Prepare Cats, Dogs, and People for Holiday Visits

How to Prepare Cats, Dogs, and People for Holiday Visits

Holiday celebrations include visiting family and friends. It also means keeping pets safe during the holidays. Since we consider cats and dogs part of the family, pet holiday visits require special preparations. Changes to routine can increase fear, anxiety, and stress in everyone, and especially our pets. Hitting the road also raises stress levels, so unless your pets adore car travel, prepare with advice in this article. Here are some tips for reducing the angst once you arrive, so that everyone enjoys family pet holiday visits.

How to Prepare If Pets Outlive You

We often lament the fact that dogs and cats don’t live as long as we do. But what about the reverse—what if your pets live longer than you do? Are there legal protections you can take in planning for when your pets outlive you? We loved them dearly while alive, and must also care for them when we’re gone with proper plans. And yes, it can happen totally out of the blue.

The unthinkable happens, even to animal professionals. Back in 2014, in the same week, our pet community felt rocked by the tragic and sudden deaths of two heroes, animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin and Cat Writers Association president Dr. Lorie Huston. Dr. Yin left behind her beloved dog Jonesy, while my friend Lorie left six special needs rescue cats. CWA members networked to re-home Lorie’s cats. More recently, the Cat Writers’ Association again lost a beloved leader when president Paula Gregg passed away suddenly. She had time to make plans for her beloved Persian cats, Truffle and Brulee.

None of these wonderful pet lovers expected to have their pets outlive them. Do you have plans for your special pets? Here are tips for planning for when your pets outlive you.

Old Pets? 7 Cheap DIY Help for Old Fogey Dogs & Cats

Like older pets, I also move a wee bit slower than in my youth. Shadow-Pup helps keep me active and young, as well as chasing and engaging the more mature Karma-Kat. Aging dogs and senior cats rock!

I’ll admit that senior pets have a special place in my heart, even if they suffer from senility. Maybe in part because I can more easily relate to them. Do you love old pets? Are you ready for some old dog and/or old cat love? Oh, here are 7 cheap DIY tips to help your old pets.

Counting Thanksgiving Blessings, the Pet Writer Way in 2022

Time for my annual Count My Blessings post. The past year has meant change, change, and more change, and that’s good and also challenging. But some things never change…I’m thankful to you—yes, those who read this blog, my newspaper column, the cat book lovers, and the dog book lovers, and folks who have “adopted” my thriller series. And those who offered awesome applause and support any of the other venues mentioned…

8 Common Old Dog Health Conditions & What To Do

When November rolls around each year we take time to celebrate the many blessings we’ve enjoyed, including our old dogs. Pet people, of course, give thanks for their animal companions, and November traditionally is Adopt A Senior Pet Month. Do you share your life with an old fogey dog? Maybe your old girl dog leaks urine when lying down—is that common, and what can you do about it? My current doggy companion, Shadow-Pup, has reached teenager status. Bravo-Dawg lost his life to cancer before becoming a senior doggy. But his predecessor, Magic, still lives on in my heart. During his final years, we battled several old dog health conditions.

Celebrating Old Dogs: What Is Old?

Each November, we celebrate old dogs during their “official” month. But when is your dog considered old? We love our senior citizen dogs for the special joy they bring every day. But once a year, we celebrate old dogs during November Adopt A Senior Pet Month.

What is considered “old?” There are individual differences between pets, just as there are for people. While one person may act, look and feel “old” at fifty-five, another fifty-five-year-old remains active with a youthful attitude and appearance. Aging is influenced by a combination of genetics, environment, and health care over a lifetime. The oldest dog on record was an Australian Cattle Dog who lived for twenty-nine years and five months…

I’ve written about how to care for an elderly dog before, but this post addresses how to know when your canine friends become old dogs.

Celebrating Old Cats: What Is Old?

Every year, I write about our old cat needs. While Karma-Kat has just reached middle age, cats age at different rates. When do you consider your cat old? Is your old cat a senior kitty by age 8, or 13, or…when? For cats, what is old? Here’s how the experts define ‘old age’ in cats…

Sweet Pet Poison: Your Guide to Cat & Dog Antifreeze Poisoning

Pets often get into poisons by accidentally eating the wrong plant, or other dangerous toxins. With the pending change in the weather and when temperatures fall, cat and dog antifreeze poisoning becomes a danger.

You’ll find antifreeze in surprising places, not just in the garage. For instance, the liquid in snow globes can poison pets when the toy breaks. Not long ago, social media shared many stories of antifreeze poisoning cats from the liquid in broken snow globes. The liquid tastes sweet, so it’s very appealing for sweet-loving dogs to drink or lick up spills on the garage floor. Puppies are the worst, eating anything that doesn’t move faster than they do. Cats also are at risk when they walk through puddles and lick/groom the liquid off their body. Here’s what you need to know to keep your pets safe–and maybe save their life!

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer. We whisper the word, fear the consequences, and our hearts break when cancer touches loved ones, including furry family members. But according to veterinary specialists, cancer is the most treatable—and curable!—of any chronic pet disease.

November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. We lost our Bravo-Dawg in the winter after a valiant fight, and you can read the first post here. The amazing folks at Morris Animal Foundation address many kinds of cancer and have funded numerous studies and even trained researchers to continue the search for the cure.

According to Dr. David Haworth, president and CEO of Morris, “One in 2 dogs will develop cancer, and 1 in 4 dogs will die of the disease.  The Foundation leverages the best minds in veterinary medicine and science to work on understanding the cause (funding over 40 studies on cancer in dogs at any given time…).” Read more about what you need to know …

Visit Amy's Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships

Privacy Preference Center