“But Chubby is Cute!” The Truth About Pet Obesit
By: Tamara Kees
We’ve all seen them—the obese cats and dogs that live in our community. They look pretty jolly lounging on couch arms in your aunt’s living room, their folds draped over each side, or jiggling down the street with their mouths agape and tongues lolling. However, obese pets are really suffering under all that extra weight with—they just can’t tell us how uncomfortable they really feel. Also, like me, they have no self control when it comes to tasty food. We are our pet’s only protection from obesity because we can completely control their diets. Maintaining healthy weight in our dogs and cats keeps them happier, healthier, and living longer lives! However, many of our pets suffer the chronic negative effects of excessive body fat here in the U.S. Obesity is not just a human epidemic here; it affects over 50% of our dogs and cats too!
The detrimental effects of obesity in pets are numerous, and include:
- Reduction in lifespan of up to 2 years!
- Increased difficulty breathing
- Inability to run and play for long periods
- Excessive fat clogging up the liver and inhibiting full function
- Increase of flatulence, constipation, and other GI issues
- Decreased immunity to viruses and bacteria
- Skin and fur issues, especially in fat folds
- Intolerance to heat
Obesity also increases the risk of:
- diabetes mellitus
- heart disease
- urinary stones
With all of these negative consequences to bear in mind, Fairgrounds Animal Hospital would like to offer clients an education in obesity prevention and treatment! Owners can prevent obesity by feeding only the amount of food recommended on the package their pet’s food comes in. Recommendations usually go by weight, so you should use your pet’s ideal weight as a guide. When giving treats, you should do so sparingly, make healthy choices, and factor treats into your pet’s daily caloric intake to avoid over-feeding them. Refer to our pet nutrition blog to see many healthy treat options you may not have even thought of!
Active pets can have more calories per day than pets that prefer to laze around the house. Exercise is great for your pet, for you, and is crucial to a healthy body weight! Even if you can’t take your pet outside, there are lots of interactive games your pet would love to play with you, and even such amazing inventions as robotic mice for cats and ball-throwing machines that dogs can learn to use all by themselves. The ideas are limitless! If any of this seems overwhelming, never fear! The veterinarians and staff at Fairgrounds Animal Hospital are happy to answer any of your questions and even give you a complimentary weight-loss and/or nutrition consultation to get your pet on track to a healthy lifestyle.