There are many different elements to acting as a responsible and loving pet owner. One of these responsibilities is to ensure your pet maintains a healthy weight. Unfortunately, there are many pets that suffer from obesity, which means they are significantly above their healthy weight range. Therefore, pet obesity remains a significant issue that needs tackling to keep pets healthy. Here is an overview of why pet obesity is such a big issue and some tips for avoiding pet obesity.
Pet Obesity – The Statistics
Pet obesity is probably a bigger issue than you think. Vet Innovations published statistics that have come from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). According to these statistics, a whopping 59 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Of these, 28 percent are classed as overweight, while 31 percent are classed as being clinically obese. Similarly, 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. With 34 percent classed as overweight and 20 percent in the clinically obese category. These shocking figures show that pet obesity remains a significant problem in the United States. In fact, there are clear increases in the levels of pet obesity. In 2009, only 22 percent of cats were classed as obese, which is significantly less than the current figures. Likewise, only nine percent of dogs were classified as obese in 2009.
What Causes Pet Obesity?
There are two primary causes of pet obesity. The first is that the pet is not following a healthy diet. Either they are eating too much food, or they are consuming unhealthy snacks. The second issue that leads to pet obesity is a lack of exercise. Therefore, these are the two issues that you need to tackle to help your pet to overcome pet obesity.
Why Is Pet Obesity So Dangerous?
Obesity can have a massive impact on your pet’s health. According to the Pet Health Network, one of the biggest problems for both cats and dogs is heart disease. Second to this is diabetes, which is another condition which pets are more likely to develop if they are obese. Joint problems are another major issue linked to obesity because there is more pressure put on the joints. Other potential health problems that your pet is more likely to develop as a result of obesity include liver disease, kidney and urinary tract diseases, high blood pressure, spinal problems, and asthma. There are also some forms of cancer that are linked to obesity. Each of these health problems is potentially very serious, with some even resulting in death. In most cases, pets that are obese have a decreased life expectancy.
Is It Always the Owners Fault?
While a pet owner plays a significant role in maintaining the health and well-being of their pet, including preventing obesity, many are not aware of the health risks or how they can prevent obesity from occurring. Dogster highlights the need for veterinarians and animal groups to play a greater role in educating pet owners on issues surrounding obesity. In a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Protection, the results showed that pet owners are confused about pet nutrition. Only 38 percent of pet owners said that their veterinarian had recommended a diet for their pet. On the other hand, 68 percent of pet owners felt that their veterinarian needed to give them more advice about routines, diets, and maintenance. This shows that pet owners need more knowledge about healthy diets and appropriate levels of exercise for their pet to avoid obesity. It is also important that they are fully aware of the health implications if their pet becomes obese.
Knowing the Suitable Weight Range for Your Pet
The healthy weight range for your pet depends on many factors. These include species, breed, gender, and age. If you are unsure of the healthy weight range for your pet, you should speak to your veterinarian. They can advise you of the healthy weight range for your pet, weigh your pet to check if it is within these parameters, and offer you advice to help your pet lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, if necessary.
Tips for Keeping Your Pet Within a Healthy Weight Range
To avoid obesity and keep your pet within a healthy weight range, there are some steps that you can take. These include the following:
- Feed your pet only food that is intended for their species.
- Do not give your pet unhealthy snacks between meals.
- Avoid giving pets foods that are intended for humans.
- Have set meal times each day and only give them the recommended amount of food.
- Make sure your pet gets plenty of opportunities for play by giving them toys.
- Take your dog for regular walks.
What If Your Pet is Already Obese?
If you are already aware that your pet is obese, then you need to take measures to resolve this situation and to improve their general health. The first step to take is to visit the vet with your pet for advice about nutrition and exercise. The vet may give you a strict diet plan to follow that gives your dog or cat the nutrition it needs while also helping it to lose weight. You should also try to increase your pet’s exercise levels as exercise plays a big part in losing weight and improving pet health.
Pet Obesity – The final Verdict
Pet obesity remains a significant issue in the United States, with rates of pet obesity continuing to climb. This can have very serious implications for the physical health of a pet and may even result in their death. It is essential to seek the advice of a veterinarian with regards to the healthy weight range for your pet and the measures that you should take to help them to maintain this weight.