Obesity In Pets: What You Can Do To Prevent It
Sat, April 10, 2021

Obesity In Pets: What You Can Do To Prevent It

Obese pets are prone to contracting health complications including heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. / Photo by: Helle via Shutterstock

 

Obesity is not and will never be a laughing matter, even for our furry friends. Although being ‘chonky ’ — internet slang for fat animals — is very cute, this kind of body weight is not healthy for them. It might be fun to look at and cuddle them because they seem like walking fuzzballs, but obesity and overweight in pets can put them at risk in the long-run.

The Daily Clog, a website that focuses on the Berkeley online community, mentioned in an article that there is a growing number of obese cats and dogs in the US. Most pet owners continue to look for ways to improve their pet’s physical health. If their pet is fat, they might also be struggling with battling their pet's weight issue.

Pet obesity can have a negative effect on the animal’s lifestyle. It can cause poor metabolic function as it reduces your pet’s capability to move. Obese pets are also prone to contracting health complications including heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer, which might put them in life-threatening situations. It might be difficult to identify (or admit) that your pet is overweight, but that is exactly why consulting a professional about a pet's weight is necessary.

Consult a Veterinarian

Hill’s Pet, an American pet food company that produces dog and cat food, suggests in their article that taking your pet to the veterinarian regularly can help you keep track of their weight. Investing time and money in a veterinarian can definitely pay off in the long-term. Veterinarians normally help pet owners decide which course of action they should take in order to keep their pet’s body weight at a normal range. Some people believe that giving less food to pets can be helpful, but that is not always the case.

Female First, a lifestyle media company, stated that there are cases when the pet might need a special diet. Consultations with your veterinarian give you the opportunity to learn the right amount of food and supplements to give your overweight pet. 

 

Taking your pet to the veterinarian regularly can help you keep track of their weight. / Photo by: Kzenon via Shutterstock

 

Consider Their Diet Plan

Pets’ diet plans can be quite simple. However, remember that not every pet is the same, and it is beneficial to have a more personalized approach when it comes to feeding and weight management. If your vet confirms that your furry friend is obese or overweight, you can create a schedule for their meals, and portion their meals throughout the day. Allowing them to munch on their treats in between meals might be the reason they are overweight.

Portion control allows pet owners to know exactly how much their pet needs to eat. It lets them know how much is enough to keep them satisfied and, at the same time, healthy. Remember that things are different for humans and animals. Small portions for us might be more likely to fill your pet’s stomach substantially. 

Pet owners must also keep in mind that there are certain foods that can be dangerous for their pet’s health. There are foods that can be toxic or harmful to them, such as chocolates, grapes, raisins, and xylitol. This is why one must refrain from letting our pets share in our guilty pleasures because it might have a significant and negative effect on their health in the long-run. 

Exercise

Just like humans, pets gain weight if they’re eating too much and exercising too little. In order to combat obesity, pet owners must start engaging their pets in more physical activities regularly. These activities include walking, hiking or running, or playing catch. Activities like these can have a significant effect on their health, and could be a great bonding activity for the both of you. 

 

In order to combat obesity, pet owners must start engaging their pets in more physical activities regularly. / Photo by: Syda Productions via Shutterstock

 

Be Supportive

Some pet owners might find it difficult to commit their time to helping their pets shed some weight. It is also quite difficult to resist their puppy eyes and endless begging for food, but remember that your pet will not think any less of you if you start feeding them smaller portions of meals and fewer treats. 

Keep in mind that it is part of the responsibility of a pet owner to ensure that their pets are receiving proper healthcare. Although it can be hard work at first, keeping them at a healthy weight will ensure long years filled with health and joy. 

What Causes Obesity?

Remember that there exist several reasons your pet may be overweight. However, PetMD, the largest global source of pet health information in the world today, explained that this condition is usually caused by an imbalance between energy intake and usage. 

Obesity in pets is evident in senior dogs because their old age affects their ability to perform physical activities and participate in exercise. Aside from that, obesity can also be rooted in other health conditions such as hypothyroidism, insulinoma, hyperadrenocorticism, and neutering.