It's not just humans who battle weight issues - our dogs, cats and other pets all run the risk of obesity too. Left unchecked, an obese pet could risk developing arthritis, diabetes, kidney and heart disease, some forms of cancer or high blood pressure.
The good news is that, if you take care of your pet's weight, pet obesity is absolutely preventable. So how can you help your pudgy pet slim down and reduce their risk of serious disease?
1. Measure food portions
It's easy to guess the amount of food you're giving your cat or dog but it'll save you trouble in the long run to measure it properly. Know the optimal amount of food for your pet, depending on its size and breed - and stick to it.
2. Give treats wisely
It's okay to reward your pet every now and then with a treat - positive reinforcement is a great way to moderate behaviour. But if you're going to give your pet a treat, make it count. Giving your pet a treat just to stop them bothering you isn't going to help anyone in the long run.
3. Exercise, exercise, exercise!
It doesn't have to be an excessive amount of exercise but even just a short walk a day will do wonders for your overweight pet. Half the fun of owning a dog is the activity it brings along with it, so relish your exercise buddy and enjoy the outdoors together. Exercise isn't limited to dogs, either - help your cat to stay active by playing with them often and ensuring plenty of movement on a daily basis. Hot tip: laser pointers can provide hours of fun.
4. Monitor weight loss
You'll never know if your pet is gaining or losing weight if you don't keep track of the numbers. Have a home 'check-up' with your pet every one to two weeks and use the results to determine new food and exercise plans.
5. Talk to your vet or local pet shop
Scouring the supermarket shelves for a hard-and-fast weight-loss cure won't do much good in the long run. Try talking to your vet or an expert at your local pet shop about the best brands of weight-loss food for your pet.