How to save your pet from Obesity?
Obesity is a blazing concern for many Australian pet lovers. According to a report, almost 40% of Australian pets were found to be overweight. Another study had revealed that 42% of dogs and 33% of cats are either obese or overweight in Australia. These numbers are alarming. It is time that we wake up to the anomaly and develop a basic understanding of this nutritional disorder so that we can prevent our companions from accumulating those extra calories.
WHAT IS OBESITY?
Obesity is an abnormal bodyweight condition that occurs due to the excess fat buildup in your pet’s body. This happens when your pet intakes more calories than what it requires for its daily activities. In simple words, when your pet is consistently eating more than what it should be, it results in the accumulation of fat.
HOW CAN I SAY IF MY PET IS OBESE?
Excess body weight and extra fat have a tendency to go together, and it is worth knowing that the most overweight dogs have extra body fat. You can determine your pet’s body condition by assessing their optimal body weight. In general, pets are regarded as overweight when they weigh 10-20% more than their ideal weight, whereas they are categorized as ‘obese’ when they gain 20% more weight to their normal body weight.
There are various contributing elements towards developing obese condition in your pet which include pet breed, age, neuter status, sex, and owner’s habits. The most common causes of obesity in your pet are,
- Lack of physical activities
- Genetic susceptibility
- Medications such as glucocorticoids
- Disease like Hypothyroidism or Arthritis
WAYS TO PREVENT OBESITY
It is necessary to understand the causes of your pet’s obese condition before you start implementing preventive measures. Take your pet to a veterinarian for the precise assessment of your pet’s body weight condition because if you suddenly put restrictions on your pet’s daily consumption, it may cause health issues. Therefore, you should cut down your pet’s daily intake gradually under a professional’s observation. Here are the most preferred ways of preventing your pet from obesity.
Every pet’s body is built differently, and their activity levels differ from one another. Develop a thorough understanding of your pet’s daily caloric requirement based on their activity levels and feed them accordingly. Always follow a scheduled feed instead of free feeding. Replace processed treats with natural treats such as apples or bananas.
Feed your animal with quality pet food. When buying processed food, always check the product label and go through its calorie content along with nutritional assessment per feed and give it in accordance with your pet’s requirement.
Strictly follow the feeding guidelines provided on the product label. Feed your cat with canned food against dry food as it reduces the chances of obesity and keeps their excretory system up and running. Avoid feeding table scraps. Do not feed them such as chocolate, grapes, onions as they can have poisonous effects on your pet.
Break Feeding Sessions
Calculate the total quantity for your pet’s daily requirement of food and break the quantity for the day into three or four parts rather than feeding it in one go. This will not only help your pet burn more calories, but it will also improve your pet’s metabolism.
Other than managing your pets’ feeding needs, working on your pet’s activity level significantly contributes to your efforts to save your pet from putting on those extra calories.
Take your pet out in the park for walking, give them pet agility training, take them for their favorite water play or fetching. If you have a cat at home, you can provide them with a ladder to climb on or give it a toy to play with. This way your pet will be able to burn those extra calories will keep their muscles lean, and joints moving.
Keep an eye on your pet’s weight
Check your pet’s weight on a regular basis. This will help you determine whether you are on the right track of maintaining their belly fat. Keeping a close watch on your pet’s weight can also help you make necessary changes if required to their prevention plan.
See Your Vet More Often
Your vet is more than equipped to sense a potential health risk before it becomes a real threat for your pet. Obesity is not always a result of wrong eating habits. Your vet can provide you with the precise reason for weight gain in your pet and help you with the appropriate treatment and preventative measures to overcome the unhealthy condition.
We know how difficult it is to resist giving away those extra treats to our fur babies when they look at us with those eyes. By doing this, we can certainly make our pets happy; but such gestures do not improve their health quotient for sure. Instead, if we adopt appropriate dietary habits accompanied by uniform physical activities, we can definitely help our animals maintain their waistline and promote healthier living.