Just as childhood obesity is increasing among the human population, there is a similar problem among domestic animals. Pet obesity has come to the attention of veterinarians due to the increasing number of cats and dogs that have become way too heavy. Veterinarians speculate that the reason behind this is that pet parents love their pets so much they treat them as part of the family.
A Survey on Pet Obesity
Just this year, a survey was conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention to assess how many of the millions of domestic animals are now overweight and obese. They found that about half all pets are actually overweight or obese. Obesity has been defined as being 30% above normal weight; approximately 1/5 of all pets fall under this category.
The problem seems to have arisen from the denial of pet owners about the real weight of their pets; they fail to identify their cats and dogs as obese or overweight, just overfed. If you want to know whether your pet is getting too fat, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has a chart to check your pet’s weight. You can also visit your vet to get an accurate assessment of your pet’s body condition.
Right Food and Better Exercise – The Way to Lose
Veterinarians are the best people to guide you in how your pet can lose his or her excess baggage. Your pet’s weight loss program will be designed by your vet who will most likely focus on diet and exercise.
Diet: Pet foods are generally rich in nutrients to meet the dietary requirements of your pets. For dogs, many times it is not the over-consumption of their dog food that gets them heavy, but rather the extra helpings of table-scraps and treats.
As for your kitty, it is the carbohydrates in the food that makes them fat. Cats are obligate carnivores, and their bodies are not designed to process carbohydrates. To prevent your cat from becoming overweight, a high-quality grain-free diet is recommended.
Exercise: Take your dog with you when you are on your daily run or walk. A few times a week would be a good start, working up to more intense or frequent exercise. A game of fetch would be a good activity you can do with your dog. Try tying a piece of ribbon on a stick and wave it to and fro to keep your cat busy and in motion.