A pet overweight is not necessarily a happy pet
At this time of year, many of us are looking to lose weight with New Year goals, however many of us have a pet overweight too, which often we overlook.
Just like humans, obesity in pets is a problem around the globe. Although our pets may not face the same social stigma as humans do, the emotional and medical damage is still being done just the same. Obesity in animals can cause many complications in almost every system in their bodies, in turn generating conditions from diabetes to osteoarthritis.
Many owners are not bothered if their pet is overweight, they love them just the same. A study published over 15 years ago (landmark lifespan study) showed that Labradors who were overweight lived 1.8 years less than ideal weight Labradors, and 80% suffered osteoarthritis at 10 years old compared to 20% of the slim Labradors.
Another study showed that obesity can have emotional consequences for our pets. A pet overweight can have a worse score in vitality, pain, quality of life and emotional disturbance. On a positive note, these values can improve with weight loss.
Do you show love through food?
So why are there so many overweight pets? Is the food we are giving our pets too high in calories? Are our pets not being exercised enough? Is it down to genetics? Or is it simply we fall for those puppy dog eyes and let our pets train us (not the other way round). Many pet owners overfeed their pets with food and treats. However, all the above can be an element of your pet being obese.
Many pet owners treat their cats and dogs like part of the family. Especially with the family dog, there is often a deeper, emotional and psychological bond between them and humans. In-turn owners can often overindulge their pets as way of expressing love to them through food. However, there are other ways of showing your love and helping them lead a healthier and happier life.The PDSA wellbeing report for 2014, it showed too many humans are continuing to feed their pets with takeaways, cheese, cakes, crisps and other human leftovers. They are giving their pets treats if they beg for them, maintaining a healthy weight is critically important for our pets to extend their lifespan.
A balanced diet certainly helps when it comes to combating obesity. Years of research has gone into pet nutrition, allowing pets to lead healthier lives. Prepared mixed formulas of pet foods over recent years have played a key role when it comes to the decrease in nutritional disorders. As a result of this pets are living longer healthier lives.
Reducing your pet’s weight is not a simple task and it often may require a specialised diet. When it comes to cats especially, particular planning needs to be carried out to prevent problems associated with liver disease.
If you think your pet may be overweight you firstly need to speak with your vet or vet nurse. Not only will they be able to check their weight, but can advise you on giving them the right amount of calories and nutrient requirements thatthey need. Instead of giving them extra treats, change them for other social activities, such as grooming them or taking them for a walk. You could also divide up a portion of the diet food to use as treats instead of meals, or divide the food up and give them more frequent smaller meals throughout the day.
In the instances where you have more than one pet and you have issues with one stealing the others food. Consider separate meal feeding options, try and separate the two animals at feeding time to avoid this happening.
Free Weight Clinics
Here at Dragon Vets, we offer a FREE Pet Weight Clinic if you think your pet is overweight it is very important to get them checked out straight away. The sooner you take action, to help your pet lose its weight, the better chance it will have for a longer and more healthier life.
At our weight clinics, our qualified veterinary nurses will weight, examine and advise you on the right nutrition for your pet, and develop exercise plans. You will be able to attend our free regular check-ups until your pet reaches its ideal weight. You can find out more about our clinics on our dedicated page.
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