Obesity is becoming an epidemic in our country today but it has not only affect the two legged species. As we have begun to over indulge ourselves with our hectic lifestyles, we have also begun to over indulge our pets and this unhealthy habit is particularly destructive.
Almost 25% of the pet population is considered obese and many under veterinary care for this reason. With our tendency to treat ourselves with food as a reward for a challenging day, we are doing the same things to our animals. But as we are doing so, we are putting their lives at risk.
Our Busy Lives
As we run through our lives juggling more daily expectations we are not only neglecting our own health with fast food and less relaxation but the health of our pets.
With the lack of time for ourselves, our dog walks become short strolls to the nearest park or a quick jaunt around the neighborhood. Our hectic days don’t leave much play time for our pets so we offer treats to keep them busy and assuage our guilt.
Animals are creatures of habit and quick to learn this type of behavior. They easily attach a play time with treats and begin to demand treats more frequently. Their vocal demands are then rewarded just to keep the peace and a cycle is born.
As we move and downsize, our spaces leave less room for play. Apartment living may seem suitable for cats but even cats need room to exercise. The less room there is to move, the more sedate they become and excess weight becomes a problem.
A few pounds may not seem to be much for a large breed dog, but for small pets, 5 pounds can decrease their life span considerably. As with humans, obesity can lead to diabetes, arthritis, kidney problems and heart complications.
The more obese the animal, the less they are able to groom themselves and this can be a frustrating life for fastidious cats.
What We Can Do
If you suspect your pet may be overweight, take them to your local veterinarian for an assessment. There are many types of food available to help get their weight back under control. They will also be able to advise you of tips and tricks with different toys to help along the way.
Get off the couch. Going for a walk with your dogs at the end of the day is one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase your physical well being. Use favorite toys to play with your cat to encourage exercise.
No matter what kind of pet you have, you must be careful not to overcompensate for our lack of time with food and treats. Be sure you are feeding the proper food for the age and condition of your pet and most importantly take the time to enjoy some play time.
It will do both of you a world of good.