Many of our pets are overweight and are at higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, joint disease and other health problems. According to recent literature, about twenty-five percent of the western world pets are obese and the numbers are growing.
We love our family pets so much and we treat them generously with affection and yes, treats. It is indeed very hard to resist those bagging eyes staring at us relentlessly until we reach to the cookie jar and dig-out a satisfying treat. The wet loving tongue, the waging tail or the purr that follows is priceless. What’s a little treat or two compared to the joy and the happiness of our rewarded pet? So when that happens daily to mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, sister, brother etc., the result show in pounds and inches.
Our homes are cozy and warm, the couch by the TV is nice and comfy, food is more then abundant and life is good. Our roadrunners, food seekers and predator animals quickly turn into couch “petatoes”. Sometimes when the TV is boring or there is nobody to play with, a bite of crunchy food, which is always available, will help the time pass by. Then of course everything gets to be more interesting during dinnertime. Some medications such as steroids will induce increased food intake. Metabolic disorders such as hypothyroidism and neutering will predispose animals to obesity. Periodic physical exams and laboratory screenings are helpful in addressing such situations.
If your pet is part of the twenty-fifth percentile of the obese western world, here are some helpful tips. Feed good quality dog or cat food in formulations and amounts appropriate to the breed, size and the activity level of your pet. Many of our pets do not have good feeding regulation mechanisms and are unable to limit the amount of food consumed. Canned food is recommended for cats and either dry or wet food works for dogs. Increase exercise and activity time. That helps burning calories and nutritional exchanges in the body. Cut down on treats and table food bites and make sure everybody in the house does the same.
Consult your veterinarian about your pet’s particular case. There are special formulations of diets designed to address obesity or other related conditions. In some cases medication is appropriate. With a little effort your pet will loose the extra weight and live healthier life.