Each year pets are getting fatter. It is estimated that half of the pets owned in the United States are overweight or obese. It is the fast growing health problem. The biggest cause of obesity is lack of proper nutrition and exercise. Educating ourselves on our pets needs can make a remarkable difference in our pet’s quality of life.
Several causes of obesity
Overfeeding. We all want to make sure our pets have plenty to eat. Leaving food out all time or giving treats when ever the pet wants one can pack on extra pounds.
Lack of exercise. After a long day of work getting the energy up to go for a walk can be difficult, therefore, trips outside are for potty breaks.
Illness or injury. Pets who are recovering from an illness or injury are at risk of gaining weight due to the fact that they are activity restricted.
Breed. There are some breeds that are genetically a higher risk such as Beagles, Basset Hounds and English Bulldogs.
Having a pet that is obese is can lead to health problem. Being overweight can also interfere with other pre-existing health conditions. Obesity can put undue stress on the skeletal structure. The following can be caused by obesity:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Orthopedic injuries
- Respiratory disease
- Many types of cancer
- Shortened life expectancy of up to 2.5 years
Even healthy food can cause weight gain if fed in excess. Set a feeding time schedule of two to three meals a day. Avoid giving excess treats. Treats should take up less than 10% of a pet’s diet.
Set up an exercise routine with your pet. Setting aside to go for a walk is not only beneficial for weight loss but will also help establish who the pack leader is, you.
In addition to just a walk, playtime is also good. Besides, who doesn’t like a good game of catch with their best 4 legged friend? If your dog cannot get out and exercise because of an injury or illness, talk with your vet. They will be able to advise you on a plan for getting your pet moving.
Obesity is a problem that can be fixed. We want what is best for our pets. Giving them a healthy lifestyle will prove to be beneficial in the long run.