Obesity is one of the top diseases affecting our four-legged companions. What’s more important, it’s that it is easily preventable.
What is obesity? A pet is considered obese if his/her weight is more than 30% above his/her ideal weight. We estimate that 1 in 5 pets suffers from obesity.
How does my pet become obese? Obesity comes from two main factors:
- Excessive calorie intake: We often bond with our pets by giving them treats and even reward them with some treats. However, it’s hard to realize that a small sized treats is actually very rich in calories and can quickly lead to obesity. As pet owners we often do not use measuring cup to feed our pets, but instead scoop some dry food into a very large bowl and tend to over feed our companion.
- Inadequate burning of calories or lack of exercise: after a long day at work, the last thing we want to do is take our pets on a walk or play with them. So most evenings are spent cuddling on the couch watching TV while petting our dog/cat.
Why is it so important to keep my pet lean?
Pets suffering from obesity are at high risk of developing serious illnesses such as Diabetes, severe arthritis, Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear (knee problem)….Those illnesses can drastically shorten the life of our furry friends.
What can I do to prevent obesity and what can I do to help my pet lose weight?
The first step is to understand what your pet’s ideal weight should be. Your veterinarian can help you determine the ideal weight during a regular examination or by looking at breed charts, body condition scoring…Once the ideal weight has been established, your veterinarian can help you determine the daily calorie intake necessary to keep or reach that weight. Remember just like with us, weight loss should be slow and gradual. So make sure to weigh-in your pets every 2 weeks and discuss the results with your veterinarian.
Incorporating proper feeding habits by limiting treat intake and feeding a well balanced diet can greatly help achieve that goal. Regular exercise is also crucial to a weight loss program. Regular daily walks provide greater benefits than one long walk once a week.
Finding a support group, friends with obese pets, can help motivate you and your pet get to that target healthy weight.
Currently, you can enter a national contest: “The Biggest Shedder” and/or a local contest: “The Biggest Loser” to help your pet lose the extra pounds that makes him/her unhealthy.