Obesity isn’t just a human problem. It’s becoming an issue for household pets, too. A chunky pet can be a cute thing—until you realize the medical hazards for pets that are overweight. Obesity in dogs and obesity in cats can lead to arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers. Obesity can also shorten your pet’s lifespan by about two years.
According to a study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention—yes, there is such an organization!—over half of adult dogs and cats in the U.S are obese. The study also shows that obese animals are only getting worse and gaining more weight. This is due to several reasons.
Obesity in animals is very similar to obesity in humans. Treatments are similar, too. The simplest solution to an overweight pet is less food and more exercise. According to petMD, if you have an overweight dog, you should cut the regular food amount by a third. Also, pet foods have become higher in calorie counts these days. This makes it very deceiving when pet owners don’t change the amount of food they give to their pets, yet the pets start gaining weight. So switching to a different brand of pet food might do the trick. When picking out a food brand for an obese pet, look for meat on the list of ingredients. Meat is important to a dog’s diet and should not be replaced by fatty substitutes. Also, you might try switching to a diet pet food brand. This might be especially helpful for cat owners, seeing as how cats are more difficult to exercise than dogs!
The next time you see your vet, be sure to inquire about its weight and, if need be, find out how to get your Fido or Fifi down to a healthier weight.
Do you have any experience with an obese pet? Share tips with our readers in the comment section!