Welcome back to the Acoma Animal Clinic blog! We are focusing on all topics relating to pet health and food this month, from Halloween treats to avoid through feeding an elderly pet. But first, we are going to look at a huge problem for pets everywhere: pet obesity. While some owners may think it cute or funny that their pug is a bit pudgier than usual, but just like in humans, obesity is a massive health concern. Here’s what you need to know about pet obesity.
Often times pet owners never even notice their friend gaining wait. It is a gradual change and you might not see that Fido has put on a few more pounds, and on their small frame a few pounds can be a lot! So, usually it’s a vet or pet groomer who notices the change first, but it doesn’t have to be!
To give your pet your own quick inspection is simple. Have them stand and feel their midsection. The lower ribs and spine should be noticeable. Simply running your hands along their sides, waists, and spine and you will feel them. If you can’t well, it’s time to talk to your vet about pet obesity!
The Effects of Pet Obesity
Just what will a few extra pounds do, really? Well, as mentioned, on their smaller frames a whole lot! It can lead to:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Lower stamina
- Exercise intolerance
- Liver disease
- Increased risk of tumors
- Weakened immune function
Stopping Pet Obesity
So, knowing fully well some of the effects a few extra pounds can do to your furry companion, how do we reverse it and get them back to a healthy weight?
What would you do for yourself if that was a problem? You’d eat less and increase exercise, right? Well, we’d hope so! It’s the same process for your pets. Get them moving more, longer walks, more playtime and get their diet right!
The lack of exercise can be an especially difficult course to correct. If your pet is already overweight then they may be suffering the symptoms like decreased stamina or other risks to their health. When trying to get healthy it is important to not over do it, to build up to it and recognize your pet didn’t get like this in a day, they won’t lose weight in a day either.
The hardest part, often is fixing the diet for dogs. It may seem easy, simply swapping out one food brand for another, but there’s more to it. The biggest hurdle is breaking the habit of associating food with love. It’s tough, it’s what we do as people, we share what we have, it is an innate behavior to share our resources with those we love, and that includes giving table scraps to our furry loved ones. Those foods are especially bad for our pets as they are much more calorie dense and higher in fat than pet food should be.
Knowing is Half the Battle
In those immortal words, knowing is half the battle, knowledge is power, etc. etc. Knowing just what obesity in pets can do and what it looks like is a huge step in the right direction. Acting on it is even more important. But if you only take one thing away from this blog it’s this: obesity is a massive health problem for pets.
Know what your pet’s diet should consist of, what kinds of nutrients they do need and by all means give them that! But refrain from doting on them with table scraps or human food treats and help them get the physical activity they need.
Many pet owners think they know what’s best for their animal, we have all been guilty of it! But the truth of the matter is only 20% actually know that human and dog diets (for instance) are not the same. Less than 10% give their dog the correct amount of nutrients they need. Don’t be a part of the uninformed majority! Talk to your vet, learn what nutrition your pet actually needs and fight pet obesity now. Your furry friend will appreciate it!