Pet obesity is a growing epidemic. You’ve heard this before? Read on…
Obesity can lead to life-altering, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, bone and joint problems and hair coat problems. (“Yes, yes…er, what do you mean by ‘hair coat problems?’”) Obesity is affecting nearly every population and group, ranging from Beagles to Siamese and Labradors to British Shorthairs. (“Wait, I thought we were talking about people?”) Yes, there is a global human obesity epidemic, but there is also a growing pet obesity epidemic.
At Sureflap, we care about the health and wellbeing of your pets as much as you do, so we’ve compiled a handy list of hints and tips to help you nip any weight issues in the bud.
Exercise burns calories but it also strengthens respiratory and circulatory systems, helps get oxygen to tissue cells, keeps muscles toned and joints flexible, releases energy, relieves boredom and aids digestion.
If you’re out of the house regularly, consider investing in a good quality pet door or finding a local pet-walking service.
Choose the correct type and amount of food
Choose food that suits your pet’s life stage. Younger, more active, or pregnant/nursing animals require more energy, protein and minerals than older pets. Older pets require fewer calories due to slowed metabolisms.
Both felines and canines in the wild will graze on food throughout the day rather than having set mealtimes, so in general, it’s best for pets to be able to eat as they feel the need. In multi-pet homes, a pet bowl or feeder that only allows the appropriate animal to eat their food, such as the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder, is an ideal way to monitor intake and prevent bullying (and food will not become stale, as an added bonus).
Regularly monitor your pet’s weight
It’s easy for us to put on a couple of pounds and not notice it until we try wearing something we haven’t worn for a while. It is even harder to notice small weight gains in our furry companions. By routinely weighing your pets (at the same time of day, on the same scale), you will notice slight weight changes before it becomes an issue.
Regulate the weight of kittens and puppies
Young, overweight animals are at greater risk of becoming obese as they grow older. We should ensure growing animals have adequate nutrition, without feeding too much. Weight problems from a young age can contribute to other problems such as joint disease.
Limit or eliminate treats and table scraps
Treats and table scraps are often the biggest offenders when it comes to weight control. Treats are generally better than table scraps, and have their use for training purposes, but too many can have serious consequences. Most of our pets would rather have your attention than a treat. Spending extra time playing with or grooming your animal will probably give you both much more satisfaction than the treat, which is gobbled up in three seconds and then forgotten.
Treat any contributing factors or diseases
Although most weight gain in pets is due to feeding too much or exercising too little, there are medical conditions which can contribute to obesity. Many of these conditions can be treated. If your pet has an unexplained increase in appetite or weight, have your pet examined by your veterinarian to be sure there is not a disease process causing the problem.
This article was brought to you by Sureflap, the award-winning smart pet technology company.