19 May What is Pet Obesity?
Obesity, alternatively known as being overweight, refers to unnatural or excessive fat build-up in a person’s body which negatively impacts their health. Humans are not the only creatures who can suffer from obesity though; pet obesity has become a worry globally, as it can cause a variety of health issues and conditions. Vets say that a majority of pet owners don’t notice their pet being overweight, and that people should be aware of what a healthy dog is supposed to look like.
Why Does it Occur?
Generally, obesity is caused by a multitude of factors. It is difficult to exactly pin-point the reason behind obesity, as it changes from person to person, but it is generally caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise, genetics, and the surrounding environment. Consuming more calories than you burn is the most common way to gain weight, and the same applies to your pet. Eating more calories than they can burn through exercise is the most common path to an obese pet.
How to Identify an Obese Pet?
The easiest way is to go to a vet. While an eye test can be helpful, the best way is to go to a vet. A vet can identify, weigh and diagnose an obese pet, and can help make sure that the weight gain is due to an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise, not due to an underlying disease. A dog being overweight or underweight depends on the breed and size of the dog, so schedule a check-up and based on how it goes, your vet can tell you what are the best options and can prescribe a correct course of action according to the examination.
How to Manage Pet Obesity?
Having spoken to the vet and conducted a thorough examination, you can then start making changes in your pet’s lifestyle. Here are some tips for doing the same:
Make a Time Table
If you leave food out for your pet all day, consider giving meals according to a schedule. Leave the food out for a fixed period of time, let’s say 10-20 minutes, and clean up any food your pet doesn’t eat.
Track Their Eating Habits
Keeping track of your pets eating habits is a must for an obese pet. Use a measuring cup to measure out and serve food. Note down the readings and keep an eye on how much food they’re eating each meal.
Reduce Snacks and External Food Sources
Pets tend to get more food than just their daily meals. From treats to spilled food to simply being treated by others, your pet can consume unnecessary calories which negatively impacts their health in the long term. Figure out if your pet is getting any additional food from other sources and manage the situation accordingly.
While their diet is a major part in managing an obese pet, exercise and its importance cannot go unmentioned. Any physical activity is absolutely essential in managing obesity, so start as soon as possible. Consult your vet and decide on what kinds of exercise will be the most beneficial for your pet. Play a game of fetch, walk or chase them around the house, or maybe take them for a swim. The possibilities are endless and so is the fun you can have with your pet.
Swap Treats for Fruits
Store-bought treats can contain high levels of sugar and fat, so consider swapping them out for a healthier option. Fruits serve as good snacks for your pet and are better for their health than store-bought treats.