We often hear news stories about the problem of obesity in humans, but did you know it’s also a serious issue for our pets? A lot of animals will instinctively eat as much food as they can get hold of – even if it makes them sick – which means it’s very easy for us to unintentionally overfeed them. The problem is that, just like humans, this can lead to a whole host of health concerns and even shorten our pet’s overall life expectancy. On the plus side, there are lots of simple steps we can take to help our fluffy friends stay at a healthy weight. Keep reading to find out more.
An overview of obesity in pets
There are a number of factors that can contribute to obesity in our pets, including overfeeding, poor nutrition, a lack of exercise, hormonal imbalances and genetics. The sad truth is that, according to the findings of a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over half of pet dogs and cats in the USA are overweight or obese. That’s a shocking statistic, because maintaining a healthy weight is as crucial for animals as it is for humans.
When a cat or dog is obese, they are at a higher risk of developing a number of other serious medical conditions. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, kidney disease and respiratory problems. In addition, it has the upsetting side effect of decreasing their quality of life, because they are unable to do all of the activities they love. As such, it’s crucial that if you have a pet, you keep a close eye on their weight.
How to prevent obesity in your pet
If you own a pet, the first step to take is to find out whether they are currently overweight or not. While you can weigh them at home if you have sensitive scales, the best way is to ask a professional such as those at easyvet. That’s because the healthy weight for your pet will depend on a number of factors such as their age, breed and species. Once you have this information, you’ll know if your pet needs to lose any weight (and if so, how much).
One key factor is knowing precisely how much food you should be giving your pet every day. It’s not only about quantity though – you also need to be sure you’re feeding them a top quality, nutritious food that’s specifically made for their species. Use a measuring cup to help you dish out food portions precisely and try to avoid letting your furry friend snack between meals as this can make it harder for you to keep track of their calorie intake.
Just as with people, keeping pets at a healthy weight isn’t all about food – exercise is also vital. Dogs need to be walked every single day, even when it’s raining or cold outside. Cats also have to stay active, so try using fun toys such as laser pointers to get them playing and moving around. Hopefully, these activities will be enjoyable for you as well as them!