According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention 58% of cats and 53% of dogs in America are obese, and the repercussions that follow this can be very serious.
A lot of pets are overweight for the simple fact that American cultures pair together the concept of love and food. We love our pets and want to shower them in table scraps and treats, which can be okay in moderation, but often ends up replacing a major part of our pets’ diets.
Another very big reason for obesity in pets is a lack of exercise. Dogs should be walked daily, at least once, and should be taken outside to run and get their energy out. Dogs require their owners’ participation and interaction, and can easily become overweight if they aren’t physically stimulated enough each day.
Exercising cats is a bit harder, but it still needs to be done. A good way to for them to exercise a bit if to hide a percentage of their food in a food puzzle toy or a food-dispensing toy so that they have to work a bit for their meals. Play is important for cats too, and interactive toys that make them jump and chase are good physical and mental stimulants that’ll benefit their health.
Pet obesity should be taken very seriously, as many underlying health conditions can arise because of it. Overweight pets are more likely to suffer from arthritis than pets of normal weights. Diabetes is also common in overweight pets, especially in cats.
Overweight cats can have trouble grooming themselves, which is bad for both their physical and mental health. If they become too big, they may not fit correctly into their litter boxes, which can cause more frequent accidents outside of the box.
Veterinarians have also suggested that obese cats and dogs can become clinically depressed, as they can’t move around as much as they’d like to, so sleeping becomes more frequent, causing boredom.
Preventing pet obesity is easy if you’re willing to work with your veterinarian –they play a really important role in the health of your pet and can give you tips on what to watch for, and whether or not you need to start making dietary changes.
Your veterinarian can provide a lot of helpful information regarding the type of diet your pet should be on, the amount of food they should eat, and the frequency of their feedings. The amount of food really depends on the kind of animal as well as their breed, so your veterinarian would be able to tell you exactly what you should be doing to benefit your specific kind of animal.
If you pet is already overweight, veterinarians will also be able to give you some helpful tips on how to get your pet back on track to a healthier lifestyle. Losing weight is never easy, but it can be done with the right knowledge and diet choices.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pet store if you have questions on this or any pet related topic.