Pet obesity is the excess build-up of body fat. Pet obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States, and the number one preventable disease of dogs and cats, having a significant impact on the lives of our furry family members. It’s estimated that over 93 million pets in the country are overweight. As with many other things in life, the best obesity prevention is to not let the problem arise. Knowing how to keep your pet at a healthy weight is an essential part of being a pet owner.
- What Should My Pet Weigh? The Internet is a great source of information and so is your local library. Knowing how much your pet should weigh as an adult is a terrific starting point for obesity prevention. Unfortunately, many people see a dog or cat that is a proper weight, only to consider it to be too skinny. Did you know, for instance, that a Labrador retriever’s healthy weight lies somewhere between 65 and 80 pounds? It’s not uncommon to see these dogs tipping the scales at 100 pounds. Pet obesity will not be overcome until owners start to view their pets in the proper light.
- Understand the Risks Obesity can cause severe health problems. As a pet parent, understanding these health problems is essential to understand why we should prevent pet obesity. Pet obesity can result in a decreased life span and can damage organs in your pet’s body. Pet obesity can also raise the risk of cancer, osteoarthritis and urinary bladder stones. Obesity can occur in a dog of any age but is most common in dogs between the ages of 5 and 10.
- Know How to Get the Weight Off Prior to attempting to reduce your pet’s weight, a veterinarian should be consulted to check for diseases such as hypothyroidism, insulinoma and hyperadrenacortism. According to some veterinarians, your pet’s weight is the result of both food and exercise. Food contributes about 90 percent and exercise about ten percent; meaning that food is the most important component in your pet’s weight and, often, pet health. If your pet is overweight, cut its food back slowly. Start by reducing your pet’s food by 1/3. If your pet begins to lose weight within two weeks, continue feeding that amount. If your pet isn’t losing weight, reduce its food by another quarter of a cup. Most people do not need to spend money on light food formulas; they simply need to measure the food and feed the correct number of calories. Learn more about pet obesity prevention.
Pet health is directly related to weight. Pet obesity can lead to diabetes, arthritis, back problems and other issues within your pet. It’s up to you to make sure that your pet doesn’t get overweight but, if it does, it’s up to you to make sure the weight comes off. Obesity prevention is the first step in ensuring a long, healthy life for your animal.
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Amber Johnson, Animal Behaviorist
Miss Amber Johnson has many years of experience with pets and is a licensed pet nutrition and behavior specialist. She currently collaborates with PetPremium where she counsels clients in pet behavior and nutrition. The statements made in this article are the personal opinions of Miss Amber Johnson and based on independent experiences and could be different from the opinions of PetPremium Pet health Insurance or any other pet health insurance provider.