Pet obesity is becoming a bit of an epidemic. Being overweight will seriously impact your pet’s health, but the good news is that if your pet is overweight, the problem can be cured. There is more to establishing a pet diet plan than simply decreasing your pet’s food intake… which can actually be harmful if done to a great extent.
Causes of Pet Obesity:
The most common cause of obesity in pets is almost entirely due to the actions of the pet’s owner. I know this may be difficult to hear, but it is actually a good thing because you can easily change it. You may think that you are doing your pet a favor by giving them a little more food, an extra treat for being so adorable, or some table scraps so they don’t go to waste, but in reality this is what causes a pet to become overweight and will require you to at some point institute a pet diet… and no one likes a diet!
Effects of Pet Obesity:
Obesity affects different pets in different ways, but one fact is true for all; the more overweight your pet is, the less time he or she can have left. It is a harsh and sad truth. If you love your pet, make sure that you keep them healthy.
• Dogs: Obesity can be especially dangerous for certain breeds. For example, a miniature Doxin will have many very serious physical problems with being just a little overweight. Because of their long slender build too much excess weight will put a lot of strain on their back causing pain and discomfort; their heart, lungs and joints will also be affected.
• Cats: Overweight cats are prone to diabetes, hepatic lipidosis and arthritis.
I know it may sound silly, but it isn’t always easy to tell that your pet is overweight, especially with certain dog breeds; when you bring a new dog into your home, go out and get a comprehensive book about the specific breed and take notes of key information related to the breed’s health, exercise, and common behavior. In terms of cats, they are easier because there aren’t any extreme differences between domesticated cat breeds; still there are average weights that should be adhered to. It’s important to note that cats are more commonly thought to be overweight when they are actually healthy; this is often due to what the “big hair affect”; so make sure to weigh your cat, don’t just eyeball it.
Preventing pet obesity:
Research your pet’s breed and learn what the normal average weight is. Make sure to find out if your pet is prone to becoming overweight, and take the necessary steps to ensure a problem does not develop such as:
• Always avoiding human food scraps (TIP: if you never start your pet won’t beg).
• Know what the recommended food intake is in relation to how active your pet is.
• Make sure you pet gets a good amount of exercise.
Establishing the right pet diet if your pet is overweight:
First you need to understand that your pet will only start to lose weight when they use more energy than the calories they consume, and then it’s time to make a plan.
• Find out how much your pet should be eating normally and start there. You can chat with your vet, or look in a book on your breed, to find out the recommended food allowance. You may be surprised at what is recommended, it is most likely quite a bit less than what you are feeding.
• Stop feeding table scraps and treats, even when they are being extra cute.
• Add a daily probiotic to your pet’s diet such as Fortiflora. A probiotic supplement is designed to promote intestinal health including digestion, nutrient absorption and immune system function.
• Exercise. The most important part of treating obesity is exercise. Your animal needs to be burning off the calories he/she is eating.
Do not make drastic cuts to your pet’s food intake, rather start a weight management plan by reducing food intake a bit, limit treats and starting an exercise routine.