Pet Obesity and Prevention
Over half of the Nations pets are over weight , 53% of dogs and 55% of cats are classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians.
Why are our pets caring the burden of extra pounds?
The obesity is mainly due to overfeeding. Pet owners misread their pets "begging" for hunger and treats or table food is easily given instead of attention or exercise. As pet owners we sometimes equate giving our pets food as giving them love. Feeding correct amounts of food can be difficult, given that the guidelines are only estimates. Consulting with your veterinarian and cross-referencing the amount on the bag is best for a feeding plan. Your vet should be able to tell you the healthiest weight for your pet and how many calories he or she should be consuming in one day.
Unfortunately obesity does lead to severer health problems. Here are the most common.
-Insulin Resistance and type 2 diabetes
-High blood pressure
-Heart and respiratory decease
-Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
-Many forms of cancer
-Decreased life expectancy approximately 2.5 years
Is your pet over-weight?
Place both hands on your pet, with your thumbs either side of their spine. Moving your hands along their ribcage, try to feel the ribs. They should be easy to feel, with only a thin covering of fat.
Examine your pet's profile!
Viewed from the side at the same level as your pet their abdomen should be higher than their ribcage, and their back should not look flat. Viewed from above, they should have a definite waist.
Normal Overweight Obese
How can you help your pet?
We think preventing obesity is extremely important as it extends lives and improves the quality of life for our pets. It is probably more important than curing minor ailments and vaccinating against major ones. Giving your pet regular walks or runs is the first step. If there is a day where a walk is impossible throw a ball or your pets favorite toy around the house to get their heart rate going.
Remember a healthy, fit pet is a happy pet and prevention of obesity is easier than rehabilitation.
Linsey Miller, Paw Joggers Pet Fitness and Care Professional