How To Tell If My Pet is Obese
More to Love? Or More Likely to Lose? Is your pet “just a little chubby” – or are they borderline obese? Unfortunately, what we consider cute chunkiness might actually be endangering your pet’s health and safety. October is National Pet Wellness Month, and this year, National Pet Obesity Awareness Day falls on October 11th. Let this be a reminder to check your pet’s weight and make sure your sweet pooch and sassy feline are on a healthy track.
Every year, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) hosts a survey for pet nutrition and weight management; professional veterinarians and pet owners alike are welcome to participate. If you’d like to contribute, click here to complete APOP’s 2021 Pet Obesity Survey!
Pet Obesity Leads to Severe Damage and Illness
Overweight pets can suffer from many serious illnesses due to weight gain. It’s not uncommon for pets to develop heart disease, diabetes, joint injuries, osteoarthritis, and various cancers as a direct result of excessive fat.
Pet Obesity Will Aggravate Current Health Concerns
If your pet suffers from any pre-existing conditions or ongoing illnesses, excess weight will make their suffering worse. For example, older dogs with joint issues will experience greater pain because of the weight of excess body fat.
Pet Obesity May Be a Symptom of a More Serious Health Issue
Does your pet appear to be gaining weight without explanation? Increased weight is not always because of overeating; your pet may have hormonal disorders like chronic thyroid illness or adrenal gland disease.
Health Check: Does your pet show any of these warning signs?
- Inability to see dog’s ribs, spine, or waistline
- Sagging belly
- Excessive panting, difficulty breathing
- Easily tired, reluctance to play or walk, frequent naps
- Difficulty or inability to exercise
- Needs help getting in and out of your vehicle
For visual reference, you can view comparisons with APOP’s easy Pet Weight Check.
How to Prevent Pet Obesity
Know How Much to Feed Your Pet
Different pets eat different amounts – even through different stages of their life. Your cat will eat a different amount than your dog will; similarly, an active growing puppy will eat a different amount than an older, more feeble dog. Even different breeds of the same animal will eat different amounts – you would never feed a Chihuahua as much as you’d feed a Great Dane, right? Measure out your pet’s food for each meal, and make sure to ask your vet how much and how often your pet should be eating.
Keep Treats Special, Not Common
Table scraps aren’t always bad for your pet. In fact, there are quite a few “people foods” that can be good for your dog. The Barkery even has a list of Healthy People Food Treats for Cats! Some Pet-Safe Human Foods can be helpful for your pet’s nutrition, but make sure they aren’t harmful!
However, giving your pet additional table scraps means you may be feeding them too much kibble. Understanding the balance between treats and regular healthy meals is of vital importance for your pet’s weight – and their wellbeing. As hard as it is to resist giving them a treat every time those puppy eyes gaze up at you, remember that they will be happier if they are healthier!
Read Your Pet’s Food Ingredients
Did you know even overweight cats can be malnourished? Eating “enough” may hurt your pet more than help if he isn’t receiving the right nutritional ingredients. You could eat bread all day, every day – and probably enjoy it! But, would it satisfy your body’s needs for protein, vitamins, minerals, and hydration? Not at all!
Make sure your pet is eating the right amount of the right kind of food. Our pet nutrition experts at the Barkery would be delighted to walk you through healthy options for your pet’s dinner! You may need to add a few supplements or raw food to Boost Your Pet’s Kibble. For example, the Barkery offers Primal Raw Toppers or a Fruitables Pumpkin Supplement for pets who need to enhance their diet but watch their weight. You can find these and more in our online store!
Both humans and pets need sunshine and fresh air! Take a long walk and savor the sun’s warmth on your skin or take a cozy catnap in a sunny corner during winter. Beyond your sunshine intake, you also need to get those furry companions moving – visit the local dog-park or teach them a few new tricks! Cats, dogs, people, hamsters, hedgehogs – everybody needs to move their body to stay happy and healthy.
Celebrate National Pet Wellness Month with the Barkery! Go for a daily walk and reward your pets with healthier treats. You can even schedule a Barkery Nutritional Consultation! We love our job because we get to help pet owners make the best decisions for their pets’ health and happiness!