With an endless barrage of media publications, Americans are reminded that we are a nation with too many obese people. We are a nation in love with the wrong kinds of food and many of us appear to be too busy or unable to exercise sufficiently enough to burn off the extra calories many of us consume each day. And because of our time crunch and unwillingness or inability to exercise our pets sufficiently, too many of our pets end up obese as well.
Many times it starts with a simple treat. We are often gone much of the day and when we arrive back home we are confronted with a cheerful, excited to see us pet that melts our heart. We may feel guilty for leaving them for so long. We may think that their job of always making us happy deserves a reward from time to time. Or we may simply want to make them even happier than they already are. Whatever the reason, many times we give in and reward them with a treat. This, of course, adds even more calories to their diet over the days, weeks, months and years. And sometimes it ends up making our pets obese.
According to US Weekly, Dr. Shian Simms, Chief of Veterinary Medicine for New York-based Bideawee, one of America’s first no-kill animal rescues, says that “Obesity is a big problem among our companion animals.” “Owners tend to overfeed their pets and don’t take the time to exercise them enough. Overweight pets tend to be more exercise-intolerant, causing the cycle to perpetuate itself.”
Unfortunately, obese pets develop excess weight and body fat. This, in turn, can lead to serious health issues such as degenerative joint issues and diabetes. And it can lead to a pet not being able to walk, run or play as much as it would like because of the extra weight and size. And we have to remember that not all pet obesity stems from overfeeding or lack of exercise. Hypothyroidism in dogs can lead to weight gain without eating more food and Acromegaly in cats leads to an increased appetite.
The good news is, there are simple and proven ways to combat obesity in pets and make ourselves feel better at the same time. The list below features some of the most effective solutions to combating pet obesity, and some will even give us a little bit of a workout as well.
Feed The Right Food And Quantity
Pet food comes in all shapes, sizes, and formulas. Choosing the right pet food comes down to the age, weight, breed and activity level of the pet. Calorie content can also be regulated since each pet formula will have a different calorie count per cup. The goal is to choose a food that has the best attributes for your pet with the least number of calories per cup. Typically pups and kittens need to consume more calories per body weight pound than older animals. And pets that are naturally more active can consume more calories without becoming overweight. In addition, it is crucial to follow the feeding guideline on the bag or can of pet food. Feed the correct amount or a little less if you think your pet is borderline overweight. Your veterinarian is typically the best source of information for what to feed your pet.
Feed More Often
If pets are fed two or three times a day it is much better than feeding them their daily allotment of food at one sitting. By feeding them more often throughout the day it keeps their metabolism working harder and more often, which helps burn more calories. Also, try to avoid feeding pets late at night when they don’t have as much of a chance at burning off the calories.
Avoid Table Scraps
It can be fun to watch your pet beg for table scraps. And it can be convenient to give them treats when you want them to perform a trick or when they go freely to their bed, room or an Accent Table Pet Crate or an Accent Corner Table Pet Crate upon command. Even giving pets too many treats in toys that are designed to house treats can be too much of a good thing. Moderation is the key. A treat should be just that…a treat. When it is given too often and freely it’s not appreciated as much and an overweight issue can present itself in short order. And be sure to remember that some table scraps such as chocolate, grapes, onions, and foods that contain xylitol are poisonous to pets.
Walk or Play With Once A Day
Just walking or playing with your pet once a day can make a big difference in their weight and metabolic burn. Many pet owners properly confine pets within their space by utilizing a see-through Tall One-Touch Metal Mesh Pet Gate or similar, but the goal every pet owner should aim for is to reward their pet’s behavior during confinement by walking or playing with them afterward so they don’t get obese and are able to lead as long and as healthy of a life as possible.
Canned Food for Cats
Feeding canned food for cats versus dry food prevents obesity and maintains their urinary system in good working order. Canned, wet food can definitely cost more, but in the long run, it is priceless for cats.
Visit the Vet Often
Regular visits to the vet are key to keeping obesity at bay. Potential problems can be headed off before they become hard to overcome. If a pet is gaining weight, a veterinary exam can help determine the reason. As mentioned above, not all weight gain is from overeating or too many treats. Thyroid issues may be the cause. Joint impact can also be addressed if an overweight issue is presenting itself.
Obesity is a growing problem within our pet population. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. It’s up to all of us pet parents to break this sedentary life cycle as soon as possible and perhaps even help ourselves be more active at the same time. And with the tips above as a guide, hopefully, we can all be more proactive in helping our pets become healthier, move more and keep obesity at bay.
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