Statistics of the year 2013 suggest that more than 50% of dogs and cats in the USA are obese. The exact number equals to 43.8 million dogs and 55 million cats are overweight. This alarming figure is a warning call for pet parents whose hearts melt while leaving their pet’s bowl empty. They need to take their pet’s overweight as a serious threat to his overall health. Veterinarians across the globe claim that those extra pounds are doing no good to the pet and are creating more health problems for them.
Extra weight reduces a pet’s life by nearly two and a half years. Considering their life span, this number is a big chunk of their life. Obesity causes a wide range of diseases including cat and dog arthritis, cardiac problems, breathing diseases, diabetes and some cancers. Apart from these chronic diseases, the other problems faced by pet are joint problems, decreased stamina, B.P., lethargy, lack of alertness and more. There are several reasons for obesity in pets.
Reasons for obesity in pets:
Misconception of pet parents: The basic reason for pet obesity is the lack of awareness of their owners about the ideal weight of the pet. In a research, it was found that a big percentage or pet parents are unaware that their pets have a couple of pounds excess weight.
Pet food with extra calories: Veterinarians suggest that pet food these days is full of calories and thus bring in those extra pounds on the pet. The treats are also nothing but grenades of calories that make the pet a loaf of fat.
Overfeeding and no exercise: Pet owners love their furry pals to the extent that they feed them ‘unconditionally’. In addition to this more and more pets are becoming anaerobic and do not exercise. This leaves no medium to shed off those ‘extra treats and snacks’ from their body.
Because of all these reasons, there are fat deposits over the pet’s neck, spine, chest, waist and base of the tail. Moreover, they develop medical and orthopedic problems as a ‘side effect’ of an obese body. Dog arthritis, diabetes, pancreatitis, respiratory problems are some of the health issues faced due to excess weight gain.
Solutions to slim down obese pets:
To save your dog from dog arthritis, heart problems, liver diseases, skin diseases, digestive problems, respiratory problems, diabetes, joint pains and more, you need to take quick action to slim down the overweight pet. Some of the formulas that have worked wonders in reducing pet obesity are:
- Vet advice: Taking the pet to the veterinarian is the first step. The vet can suggest a diet plan, exercise regime and medication if the pet is suffering from any disease caused due to obesity. He can also suggest an estimated time required for weight loss in the pet. Along with starting primary medications like arthritic treatment for dogs and treatments for symptomatic relief in other diseases, the ‘weight loss’ program can be started under the vet’s guidance.
- Nutritious treats: If your pet is fond of extra treats then replace those fatty treats with something that is tasty and contains low calories. Create better eating habits such as timely food, low carbohydrate food and protein rich food. Make sure you do not feed table leftovers to your pet. Watching the pet’s diet will help a big deal in dealing with his weight issue.
- Pet activity sessions: To slim down the pet, make him exercise regularly. Make a plan to take the pet for walks or play with him on a routine basis. Start with slow exercises so that it does not put pressure on the joints. Gradually increase the time of physical activity and maintain it. In few days, the pet will shed those extra kilos and be fit.
To sum up, obesity is a severe threat to any pet. Apart from making him inactive, it makes the pet susceptible to various diseases. The best ways to deal with it are exercise and food control. All this should be done under veterinarian guidance. With all this mind and practice, your furry pal will be fit and fine within just few months.