Obesity in Pets: Related Information and Prevention
Sat, April 17, 2021

Obesity in Pets: Related Information and Prevention

If your dog happens to be overweight or obese, the chances of getting diabetes, arthritis, and other joint and heart diseases increase. / Photo by: Olena Mykhailenko via 123rf

 

Food is one of the vital factors of life. Everyone should eat. Not only does it satisfy our hunger, but it also allows us to have the necessary nutrients in order to go about our day-to-day activities. However, too much food can cause certain illnesses and conditions, and the most common of which is obesity.

If you think that only humans are the ones who get affected by this condition, think again. Our pets can also gain excess weight and acquire excess fats, as mentioned on the Modern Dog Magazine page, a website that features lifestyle articles on dogs and dog owners. If your dog happens to be overweight or obese, the chances of getting diabetes, arthritis, and other joint and heart diseases increase. You wouldn’t want your canine friend to be unhealthy. This could also result in a decreased lifespan, or even sudden occurrence of death.

In most cases, when it comes to weight gain, it is mainly due to pet owners overfeeding their pets, or having no time to bring them out for a little bit of exercise. It is not bad to give treats and other delicious meals to our pets, but we should always know that weight gain is mostly attributed to the lack of physical activity.

Signs of Obesity

How do you know if your dog is obese? According to an article on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals UK page, or RSCPA UK, an organization that helps rescue animals that are in certain danger, you can check by doing the following:

(*) Feel the outline of your pet’s body. If you can touch the ribs of your pet without the excess fat, then your pet is okay. Otherwise, it might have some excess fat around its body.

(*) The waist should always be seen when looked at. You should be able to feel it as well when you touch it.

(*) The belly should not be too big, or should be tucked up when you look at your dog from a side angle.

If you think that your pet did not pass any of the aforementioned, then maybe it’s time to bring him to the veterinarian for a consultation. A health check is necessary to confirm if your dog is overweight or not.

 

To know if the dog is obese, their belly should not be too big, or should be tucked up when you look at your dog from a side angle. / Photo by: soloway via 123rf

 

Just in case you have a cat at home, you may also do the following to check:

 (*) The spine, hip bones, and ribs should be easily felt when touched

(*) The waist should always be seen when viewed from above

(*) There shouldn’t be any kind of sagging when it comes to the belly

For dogs, there are particular factors that can also affect their chances of becoming obese:

(*) Breed – some dog breeds have a higher chance of being obese

(*) Age – older dogs tend to gain more weight over time

(*) Neutered – those dogs that are neutered have a higher risk of being overweight than those that are not

(*) Pet owner – this could be the biggest factor of them all. Some pet owner’s lifestyles can be sedentary, and this could translate to their ability to make their dogs be active. Others may overfeed their pets or just simply not know that their pet is already obese.

 

Older dogs tend to gain more weight over time. / Photo by: Anna Mandrikyan via 123rf

 

Obesity Prevention

The biggest factor when it comes to pet obesity is the way owners feed their pets. Some owners tend to give their pets table scraps or too many treats. Sometimes, when there is too much interaction between a pet and its owner, the tendency is that treats are given to them at any time, not factoring in the need for a balanced meal or a healthy one.

When it comes to food, the calorie composition and the total intake should be taken into account. For cats, dry commercial foods tend to make them heavier than canned ones. For dogs, canned dog food makes them increase their appetites. However, pet food is also dependent on the breed of your dog. Some that can be found in the market have options for high-protein, high-carbohydrate, low-fat, or high-fiber. Check the label when buying food for your pet.

When it comes to serving size, commercial pet food usually has instructions on how often and how much food should be given. Check the label and make sure you follow these instructions. Most of the time, the age and weight of the pet are considered to know a certain amount of food to be given. Also, if you can use smaller food bowls, then chances are you can prevent overfeeding your pet.

Instead of just putting food in the bowl, use a measuring device such as a cup or a graduated beaker to know the exact amount of food your pet should be getting.

Perhaps the most important of all is to make sure that your pet has enough physical activity to burn all the calories that it has taken in. This could also make your pet stronger by building more muscle mass, and reduce their boredom and anxiety from being left alone at home at times.