Written by Tom Jorgensen
Obesity is a major epidemic impacting society today. However, it is not only humans who fall victim to this disease, obesity also impacts our furry friends. It is estimated that over 40% of pets in Australia are overweight. With obesity being the most common nutritional disorder in dogs and cats it is important that pet owners understand what they can do to ensure that their pet lives a long and healthy life.
Animal obesity can pose a number of ricks, which include:
- A shorter life span
- Joint and mobility problems
- Skin problems
- Disinterest in exercise and play
- Heart disease
- Susceptibility to infections
Luckily pet obesity is treatable and preventable. Here are some tips and tricks to prevent pet obesity, keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.
Pet owners can monitor their pet’s weight by weighing them regularly. Do a bit of research and establish what is a healthy weight range for your pet’s specific breed. This can be an effective prevention strategy in catching your pet’s weight increase before it becomes a more serious problem.
A critical component to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle for your furry friend is controlling their diet. Owners should always keep in mind their pet’s age, weight, and activity level before picking a pet food. Generally, younger animals need to consume more calories per kilogram of body weight than older dogs and cats. Maintaining a healthy weight for dogs and cats also depends on the type of food they eat on a daily basis. Animals with more active lifestyles or who are pregnant, generally require more protein, minerals, and calories in their daily diet.
It is also best to avoid giving our pets any human food. While it may be convenient for us to let them clean the excess food off of our plates, this could potentially lead to an unhealthy weight gain as well as behavioural problems and illness.
Living an active lifestyle is just as beneficial for pets as it is for people. Regularly exercising your pet combats obesity but also helps with joint mobility, reduces digestive problems, and reduces anxiety in animals. Having a regular exercise schedule not only helps keep your pet at a healthy weight but it also decreases the likelihood that they will develop other health issues.
As pet owners it’s easy to get into the bad habit of overfeeding your pet. The best way to avoid this is to consult your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to give you their expert opinion based on your pet’s breed and age and their significant experience.
In addition, many retail pet food brands list the recommended portion, based on your pet’s weight, right on the label.
Visit your vet
Regular check-ups with your pet’s vet will ensure that you are aware of everything that concerns your pet’s health and well-being. If you believe that your pet may be overweight, it’s best to consult your vet for their opinion. They will be able to give you professional advice and provide you with a nutritional guide and plan to keep your pet alive and well.