Animal Obesity

Brooke - Obesity Pic

 

A lot of people tend to think a fat pet is a happy pet, and even though a big round ball of fur is pretty cute, it is a growing epidemic. Just like humans, animal obesity is on the rise.  Over 50% of pets are obese and what’s worse is that most pet owners don’t even realize it’s a problem.  Experts like APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward even have a special term for it,  “this is what I refer to as the “fat pet gap” or the normalization of obesity by pet parents. In simplest terms, we’ve made fat pets the new normal.”  

Why it’s bad:  Just like us, animal obesity comes with a slew of weight-related conditions that can negatively affect your pet’s quality of life.  Some of these include, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoarthritis, hypertension, and trouble breathing.  Nothing about that is cute, even if they look adorable with all that fluff, it could be wreaking havoc on their bodies.

How to help:  First, don’t leave food in their bowl all day.  It’s unnatural for animals to have easy access to food 24/7. In nature they are used to hunting and working for their meal, and even if your pet is born and bred domesticated, their genes are hardwired to burn calories to get calories.  The first thing to do is evaluate their food; how many calories and carb fillers.  If you decide to change their food, don’t do it suddenly, gradually mix in the new food with the old food to get them used to the new taste.  Also, start measuring the food according to either the chart on the back of the food or your vet’s recommendation.  Give them healthy treats in between meals you can give them healthy low calorie treats until they are used to the new portions.  

If you’re worried your pet may be overweight or obese, you can check by seeing if you can feel their ribs without pressing down and their stomach should be tucked in.  Talk to your vet about whether or not your pet is within normal weight ranges.  Animal obesity is not a problem our pets should have, it’s a problem we have created for them.  It’s hard not to let your pet indulge and pet a couch potato and it is even easier just to give them food all day instead of hearing them beg.  But that’s not what’s best for them and really what’s best for them is all that matters.

 

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