Veterinarians and pet advocates have become more concerned with pet obesity in recent years. There have been many public awareness campaigns to address the issue. Why is pet obesity such a concern? Just like in humans, weight issues can lead to a variety of health problems. Obese pets do not tend to live as long and they have reduced quality of life. They can develop heart disease and respiratory problems. Weight can create or advance arthritis. Excessive weight is also linked to a higher injury risk. It’s clear that your pet’s weight is an important part of its overall health.
Your pet’s diet is an important part of weight management. Often, pet obesity becomes a problem because owners over feed their animals. It’s easy to do this with the best of intentions. Owners want to please their pets and sneak them snacks to show their love. Many pets beg for food regularly and if the strategy works, they will get in the habit of begging on a regular basis.
As pets age, their nutritional needs change. Older, less active cats and dogs do not have the same caloric needs that puppies and kittens have. If you have pets at different stages of life, they should not eat the same foods. It’s important that your pet’s diet is tailored to its age and activity level.
Exercise an important part of preventing pet obesity. All animals need daily exercise. You should take your dog for walks or give it an opportunity to run in the yard. If your dog is lethargic, you will need to interact with the animal to get it to move more often. Play games with the dog to get it to move more often. You’ll quickly see a difference.
It’s important to work with your veterinarian to deal with pet obesity issues. Your veterinarian can help you understand the full range of issues that contribute to pet obesity. These can include overfeeding, arthritis, age, lack of exercise, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Before you attempt to treat pet obesity on your own, make an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she will do a full examination so you will have a full picture of your pet’s health. Then, you can formulate an effective weight management strategy.