Around 22-44 percent of pets all over the world suffer from obesity. And the rate is rising every day. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, in a report, has mentioned that about 53 percent of the adult dogs and 55 percent of cats in the US are obese right now. These numbers also give a glimpse of obesity issues among humans in the US. Research has also shown that owners who regularly overfeed pets with snacks and table scraps tend to visit vets more often than those who don’t. They are also less likely to indulge pets in physical exercises like walking or swimming. Rather, such pets are rewarded with extra food, causing obesity in them. Despite such dismal numbers on animal obesity worldwide, it’s not that difficult to bring back the lost shape in your furry friend. If you notice certain signs concerning pet obesity and seek proper medical attention, things could be fine sooner than you think.
Why is keeping a tab on a pet’s weight crucial?
Like humans, pets also require their health to be kept in check. Overweight pets are at a higher risk of serious diseases like heart disease, respiratory issues, diabetes, among other health complications. Just like humans, they also need a balanced diet, while maintaining an exercise regimen. That’s why it’s important for you to keep a tab on your pet’s health. Like obesity, underweight pets can also be a problem. If you care about your pet’s physical and inner health, there are certain signs you should not ignore. If you are not sure about your pet’s weight, you can use a body score chart, especially in the case of dogs and cats.
Why is exercising important for a pet’s health?
Once the issue — whether your dog is overweight or not — is settled, the task is to prepare a proper health regimen for the pet, while making sure there are no underlying health issues affecting it. Exercising can be the biggest factor in addressing obesity and related issues. The pets that are habitual of indulging in a fixed exercising regimen rarely suffer from obesity issues. In most cases, people follow all the right guidelines while feeding the pet but rarely think about indulging it in a daily exercising regimen. Morning walks with your best animal buddy could not only be refreshing for both of you but it’s also a sure shot way to address the weight-loss issue. Also, the exercising process should also be gradual since sudden bursts of physical exercise could cause strain in the pet’s muscles.
What are the warning signs of obesity in your pet?
Firstly, you should note that obesity reduces life expectancy among pets, which is why it’s crucial to detect signs that may point towards serious illness. If you feel the pet may be facing obesity issues, look for fats around the spine, pet’s tail, neck and other body parts. If your pet is not grooming itself, something’s wrong with it. This is most common in the case of dogs or cats. Inability to run, play fun games, and the slow movement while climbing stairs can also be associated with obesity. Some pets may also experience difficulty while breathing, which in turn causes constant panting. This is also a warning sign. Besides, keep a track of the pet’s weight. If there’s fluctuation in the weight, go see the vet and detect the problem in the initial stage. These red flags can save you from trouble, if detected early. So keep a close eye on the pet’s behavioral changes.
How to tackle the obesity problem among pets?
Once it’s settled that the pet is suffering from obesity, you must take care of a few things at home apart from taking it to the vet regularly. Firstly, formulate a healthy diet chart of the pet. Pets affected due to obesity must follow a healthy diet regimen. Don’t overfeed the pet and stick to the feeding plan designed in consultation with the vet. Junk treats are a big no-no! You can replace junk foods with healthy veggies like carrots and beans. Taking your pet on a regular walk will keep it fit and healthy. However, you must start slow if it’s been a while that it didn’t go out. Indulge the pet in fun game activities like fetching and swimming. Last but not the least; go see your vet regularly. Make sure the pet gets weighed-in and his health is monitored regularly for other symptoms too. This not only requires discipline from you but patience too.
Keep a track on improvement in health
The weighing process should start after a week. Make sure it’s a slow but steady transition of shedding the weight. Don’t exhaust your pet by overdoing things. A regular but controlled workout regimen should be the goal. Tracking weight is crucial, so maintain a diary and notice the changes every week. If you are not fond of keeping a journal, download an app on your mobile phone and keep a tab on the development related to its health. Too much weight loss in the previous week can be harmful, so you can adjust it by increasing the food intake for the current week. Like food intake, the level of exercise regimen could also be enhanced gradually. The process should go on till the vet confirms that your pet has reached the normal stage of ideal body weight.
Retain the momentum
Once the dog reaches the ideal body weight, try to maintain good habits. Although most pets don’t go back to the previous stage once it reaches the optimal weight, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy food and exercise regimen. Treating the pet for health complications can be hard. So, make sure the good habits stay. If you are into junk food and expect the dog to follow healthy habits, it’s almost impossible. So it’s best to bring changes in your life to make sure the pet also follows the same habits.