Do you know what health epidemic affects both humans and pets? It’s obesity. Despite the recent focus on quality food for our companions, pets continue to pack on the pounds here in Pine City and across the U.S.
Even though chubby cats and dogs are adorable, extra weight can weigh your pet down. While genetics cause many veterinary health issues, your pet’s weight is something you directly impact. Whether your furry best friend is a bit rounder than they should be or you want to prevent them from packing on pounds, check out these facts about pet obesity and how to battle the bulge.
1. Over Half of Our Pets Weigh in as Overweight and Obese
While it would be convenient to blame stress snacking during this extraordinary year, pet weight gain has been a growing problem for some time. As of 2018, the number of obese pets qualifies this health problem as an epidemic. More than 56% of dogs and 60% of cats are obese or overweight.
2. Pet Obesity Is a Health Problem
Chunky pets may make for share-worthy social media content, but the effects of being overweight are not so cute. Carrying around excess weight is linked to arthritis, diabetes, heart issues, skin conditions, urinary conditions, and cancer.
Not only does an overweight or obese pet have an increased risk for these conditions, but treatment can be more difficult once your pet tips the scale. When pets suffer from obesity, they are at risk of anesthetic complications, so surgery for injury or illness may be challenging.
3. Pet Weight Gain Can Be Stopped and Reversed
The first step to prevent the belly bulge is to acknowledge whether your pet’s weight is healthy. Both cats and dogs should have a slight tuck in the front of their hips. Their waist should nip in slightly when you look down at their body. You should be able to feel your cat or dog’s ribs when you run your hand over their chest, and cats’ bellies should not hang.
If you’re unsure what your pet’s current body condition is, we can help. Assessing your pet’s weight and where it should be can determine the weight loss strategy that will work best for you, your companion, and your lifestyle. We can help you set targets and hit your marks.
4. Losing the Weight Is Half the Battle, Keeping It off Is the Rest
As of 2018, studies show that only about 10% of pets diagnosed as overweight or obese lose weight. Additionally, of those pets that drop pounds, only 60% keep the weight off for more than a year.
If the idea of lifetime lifestyle changes seems daunting, we’ll help set you up for long term success. Long-lasting weight loss leads to long-lasting health benefits.
5. You Can Have a Positive Effect on Your Pet’s Health
Pet obesity is a human problem because we are in control of our domesticated animals’ diets. Choosing the right food, providing appropriate portions, and scheduling regular exercise all aid in weight loss for pets. (And humans, too!)
Many pet parents use food and treats as a form of affection. If you fall into this category, shift your edible affection to physical attention. Despite those big, pleading eyes, your dog or cat can go without tasting the delicious food you cook.
Increasing walks and playtime is an easy way to help your pet burn calories. Just one more neighborhood stroll or play session a day allows your pet to raise their heart rate and condition their muscles.
Don’t Let Your Pet’s Weight Weigh Them Down
We know your pet’s weight can be a sore subject. We’re happy to discuss your pet’s pudginess with you without the pressure of guilt. Finding solutions and ensuring your pet has the best life is our goal.
If you are ready to help your pet lose weight, make an appointment now. The sooner your pet loses excess weight, the sooner they’ll enjoy increased mobility, decreased joint pain, and a drop in their risk of disease. Get started with a weight assessment today.
Image credit: ESezer / iStock / Getty Images Plus