One of the epidemics in this country is childhood obesity. Our pets are not far behind. It was found in a study that was carried out by Purina that 60% of pets in America are suffering from Pet Obesity.
According to estimates in 2015, $23 billion were spent by pet owners on pet food. On average, more than $330 is spent each year on treats and food by dog owners and $300 by cat owners.
Do not let your pets become part of the statistics. Veterinarians consider obesity as a major health concern. Excessive weight results in same health issues in pets as it does in human beings.
Pet Obesity Leads to Additional Health Issues
Lung and heart diseases, diabetes, skin conditions, joint and bone diseases and cancer of different types are some of the common health issues faced by overweight animals. This all leads to shorter life expectancy.
This is why, following the exercise and feeding guidelines given by the veterinarians is important for the specific needs of your pet. For example, the nutritional requirements of large breed dogs like German shepherds will be different for small breed dogs like Chihuahuas.
Cats are able to regulate their diet better than the dogs. Overweight cats do exist, but the problem is more common in dogs.
Pet Obesity Signs
Take your pets to vet for the regular checkups. You can ask your vet if you should be concerned about the weight of your pet. Here are some simple tests that you can do in order to know if your pets have weight problem:
- Check if you are able to feel the ribs of your pet without pressing.
- Check if you can see noticeable “waist” on the pet, between back of ribs and hips, when you view the pet from above.
- Check if the belly of your pet goes up from bottom of ribcage to the inside of thighs when you look from the side.
In case you cannot feel or see the above things, chances are that your pet is overweight.
You should be honest & objective about the weight of your pet. According to a study carried out by Pfizer Animal Health, about 47% veterinarians felt that the canine pets were obese and only about 17% of the dog owners agreed to it.
Prevention of Pet Obesity
Some owners don’t like it if someone points out that their pet is obese or overweight. But loving the pet doesn’t mean that the pet needs to have extra treats or a slice of your daughter’s birthday cake.
A cheese burger might be one meal for you, but for the small dogs, it is equivalent of 5 day’s calories. Cat or dog food should satisfy all the dietary needs of your pet – without adding the table scraps or pouring on the gravy.
It is important to maintain portion control. When you read the label on the pet food, follow recommendations for the ideal weight of your pet, instead of his current weight.
In case your pet is overweight, you should talk to the vet in order to rule out any of the underlying health problems that might be the reason for obesity. If your pet is healthy, talk to the vet about changing the diet of your pet. The first step is to consume fewer calories. Your vet might recommend some reduced calorie diet.
Increase the activity of your pet. Take him for longer walks. 25 to 30 minutes at brisk pace twice a day will be helpful in burning extra fat.
Avoid the Huge Veterinary Expenses
The obesity of your pet can prove to be costly for you. If you take your pet to the regular visits, it will allow veterinarian as well as you to monitor the weight of the pet and to know if there are any related issues.
If a pet is fit and healthy, it will be happy and you will be able to enjoy his company for a longer period of time. Oct. 9 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day.