A shocking majority of U.S. cats and dogs are considered either overweight or obese, but there are ways to prevent, recognize, and, in some cases, reverse this condition. That sounds encouraging, right? With a healthy approach to diet and exercise, you can add more years to your pet’s life. With pet obesity on the rise, let’s work together to keep every furry friend healthy and happy.
A Big Job
It’s no secret that caring for a pet is an enormous responsibility, but the reason most people are so dedicated is because having a pet is so rewarding. Indeed, there’s a type of trade off involved in pet ownership. We supply them with food, daily exercise, enrichment opportunities, a warm bed, and veterinary care. In turn, our pets repay us with snuggles, unconditional love, entertainment, and a comforting presence.
An Uneven Balance
People often use food to show their pets affection, and sometimes, this works well. If a pet runs, plays games, works on agility training, etc., they can afford a few extra calories. The problem is that pets are being overfed, and that’s the crux of pet obesity.
In addition to overfeeding, research shows that owners with obese pets actually perceive their pets as healthy. This alarming disconnect also lies at the core of the pet obesity problem.
Pet obesity is typically addressed during routine wellness exams. Once we rule out certain medical conditions, such as Cushings’ disease or hypothyroidism, we can zero-in on a pet’s diet and exercise requirements to reach a healthy weight.
Whatever the reason behind a pet’s weight gain, the bottom line is that their health is in danger. Pet obesity is linked to the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Heart and respiratory diseases
- Kidney disease
- Ligament injuries
The Pet Obesity Ratio
A significant reduction in longevity and lower quality of life are enough to raise alarm bells for any pet owner. Luckily, if your pet is seen on a regular basis, we can compare their present weight with previous results and move quickly to nip pet obesity in the bud.
Visual observations can also be helpful in understanding pet obesity. A pet who’s at a healthy weight will not have fatty deposits on the hips, chest, or base of the tail. From above, you can see a clear dip between their hips and ribs, and they will appear to have a slim, natural waistline.
Breed, age, lifestyle, gender, and home environment are also factors in pet obesity.
A Daily Battle
Pet obesity must be treated slowly. If a pet loses weight too quickly, other health problems can occur. Prescription diets can be beneficial, but the real keys to success are portion control, daily workouts, and eliminating snacks or human food.
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