Unfortunately, pet obesity does not mean your sweet pup or kitty has “more to love” – overweight pets not only experience a lower quality of life but also a reduced life expectancy.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) 59.5% of cats and 55.8% of dogs classified as overweight or obese. “During the 11th annual survey, APOP also found pet owners and veterinary professionals were confused by conflicting pet nutritional advice and continue to struggle to help pets achieve safe and ideal weights.”
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention takes a survey each year to assess and address the issue of pet obesity in our world today. Vets and pet owners alike can participate in this simple pet obesity survey; a little information goes a long way.
Why does pet obesity matter so much?
Obesity in pets can indicate serious underlying health concerns. Weight gain is not always due to overeating; does your pet appear to be gaining weight for no apparent reason? Sometimes a dog has hormonal disorders that cause weight gain; obesity in pets may indicate ongoing or chronic illness like thyroid issues or adrenal gland disease.
Obesity in pets can exacerbate ongoing illness. Excess weight in your pet may also contribute to pre-existing illness or conditions. For example, the weight of excess body fat may exacerbate ongoing or dormant joint issues.
Obesity in pets causes damage and illness. From diabetes to heart disease, overweight pets can experience many serious health issues due to their weight gain.
Quick Check: do these symptoms look anything like your pet?
- Weight gain
- Excess body fat
- Difficulty breathing
- Easily fatigued
- Difficulty or inability to exercise
You can also take a glance at APOP’s easy Pet Weight Check for a visual comparison.
- Amount of Food Different animals eat different amounts at different stages in life; your dog will not eat the same amount of food as your cat, and likewise, a puppy will not eat as much as an adult dog. It’s important to measure out your pet’s food to ensure they stay healthy. Consult with your vet about how much – and how often – your pet should be eating. In the meantime, Barkery and Bath has some healthy dry dog and cat food options. Switching to a kibble is also another great weight-loss option.
- Nutritional Intake Surprisingly, overweight dogs may also experience malnutrition; eating “enough” may harm more than help your dog’s health if she isn’t receiving proper nutrition. Read more about common malnutrition in pets here. The Barkery and Bath sees this all too frequently; we would love to help you find the right nutritious fit for your furry friend – contact us or drop by today!
- About Treats All things in moderation. Your pet may deserve every treat you gladly give out – but too many treats throughout the day will contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Save the treats for special occasions. Another trick to keep your dog happy and healthy is to give them alternative and nutritious options. Choose a few pieces of cucumber and green beans, or some watermelon; baby carrots make great “carrot bones.” Just make sure to check any food item out before giving it to your dog to make sure it’s safe!
- A little sunshine never hurt anyone In fact, outside time is a necessity for both humans and pets! Soak up that sun on a walk or bask in a cozy corner midafternoon catnap-like. However you get your sunshine, make sure to also get up and get active! Walks, obstacle courses, learning new tricks, going to the dog park or playdates…there are plenty of ways to work out the extra energy!
- Ask your vet always Never change your dog’s diet, exercise, or medication without first consulting your vet. Ask away about nutrition, about appropriate exercise, about whatever questions you can think up. Keep up with regular vet visits – check ups make your vet’s job easier and save you money by maintaining your pet’s overall health!
Take a look at our additional recommendations for your pets who need to enhance their diet and watch their weight:
Celebrate National Pet Obesity Awareness Day with us by going for a walk, spending extra time playing with your pet, or scheduling a Barkery Nutritional Consultation! Opt for healthier treats and if you have any questions, you’re always welcome to drop by the Barkery! Stay safe, happy, and healthy!