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Obesity is affecting our pets in epidemic proportions, but why? Watch to learn more and how you can help prevent it from occuring to your dog.
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Chubby, chunky, extra fluffy, or even full figured. These are all terms I use when giving a physical examination to my client's pets. But you get the idea, these are all ways of saying their pet is fat. Obesity is affecting our pets in epidemic proportions. It is defined as being 20% over your body's ideal weight.
So why are our pets battling the bulge just like so many of their owners? There is a myriad of causes. Pet owners lead busy lives. When you come home from a long day at work, it is hard enough to motivate yourself to go out and exercise, taking your dog for a walk or playing with your cat is probably the furthest thing from your mind. And then there is the guilt factor. You want to spend more quality time with your cat or dog but there are only so many hours in the day. As you head out the door on one more errand, you toss your pet a treat or two to assuage your guilt.
And it is not just treats that lead to a packing on pounds. A trip down the pet food aisle at your local grocery store is mind boggling. Premium pet foods with gourmet ingredients make the repast we place in front of our pets irresistible. And admit it; it brings joy to any owners' heart to see their furry friends gobble down a meal. Making our pets happy makes us happy. Here, eat some more!
Neutering a pet does slow down its metabolism but that alone does not account for their expanding girth. Owners are often at fault. We mistakenly continue to feed them as though they were growing pets. When the only growing they are doing after reaching puberty is out not up.
Clients will often ask, `how can my pet be fat? I'm following the pet food manufacturers feeding guidelines.' The guides are based on very active cats and dogs. Honestly, is your pet a world class athlete or a couch potato?
Hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, and hyperadrenocorticism, cushing disease are but two of many that may lead to an increase in your pet's weight.
Obesity robs your pet of a good quality of life. The extra weight puts a tremendous burden on their heart, lungs, and joints. Digestive maladies, skin disorders and accelerated chances of developing diabetes are linked to obesity. It also puts your pet at increased risk if an anesthetic procedure is required.
So how do you know if your pet is overweight? When your pet is standing and you look down on it, you should see a waistline after its ribs. If it is a snausage, the same size from its shoulders to hips, it is overweight. When you place your hands on the side of its chest, with a bit of pressure, you should be able to feel its ribs. If you are pinching an inch, it is fat.
Weight loss strategy is a combination of sensible calorie restriction and increased exercise. Your veterinarian can assist your canine companions in its quest to regain its svelte figure with medication that eases their hunger pangs.
With appropriate exercise and attention to proper nutrition, you can add years to your pet's life. Obesity is a preventable disease. The battle of the bulge takes the cooperation of all members of the family. And remember, your pet did not get chubby overnight; it is going to take time and patience to return your pet to optimal health.