National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is October 12th. Overall health and wellness for our pets are essential to helping them live longer and have an overall healthy life.
Like most pet owners, you probably think of your furry friend as a family member. Like any other family member, you want to ensure your pet is healthy and fit.
Can you tell if your pet is obese? Since the late 1990s, pet obesity has been on the rise. As of 2020, 50% of pets were overweight in Canada. That is an alarming statistic! If your dog or cat is overweight, it can lead to many health problems. Check out our guide for tips on identifying pet obesity and finding ways to help them lose weight.
National Pet Obesity Awareness Day
Just as you need to maintain a healthy weight, the same applies to your pets. Being overweight can cause a variety of health issues in your pet. More health issues mean more vet trips and lower quality of life. It is important to us here at York Professional to emphasize creating a healthy lifestyle for your pet.
Pet-Obesity Signs to Look Out For
If you don’t know how to tell if your dog is on the cubby side, here are some signs to look out for:
Is your dog or cat’s stomach hanging lower than usual? A lower-hanging belly is a good indicator that they might be putting on some pounds. If you look down at their backs, you may notice that they are a little wider than usual too. They may take on more of an oval shape.
Trouble Breathing While Walking
If your pup is suddenly breathing harder than they used to while on walks, this could signify that they have put on a bit of weight. When putting on weight, physical activity becomes more difficult. Please don’t ignore this sign, as it could indicate that your pet has gained weight early. You can intervene at this stage before things get worse.
An Overweight Pet Will be Inactive
It’s no secret that our pets love to play. Cats and dogs need daily activity to remain stimulated, relieve stress and maintain their fitness. If you notice that your furry friend isn’t engaging in play like they used to, they may be on the heavier side.
What Are The Risks Associated With Obesity in Pets?
The risks of being obese in your pets are very similar to the risks humans face.
Heart problems: You will put your pet at risk of having heart issues like congestive heart failure and heart attacks.
Risk of added weight on joints and tendons: Extra weight on your pet’s limbs can be difficult for their mobility. Imagine a small breed like a Dachshund. They have short legs, so it will be challenging to walk around with extra fat on their bodies.
Diabetes: This disease brought on by obesity can lead to additional health issues if it isn’t managed correctly.
Overall, if your pet is overweight, it can shorten their lifespan. We want to keep our fur babies around for as long as possible! Even being moderately overweight can shorten your dog’s life by two years.
Developing a Weight-Loss Plan
First, you should take your dog or cat to the vet to be properly examined. Your veterinarian can help you develop a weight loss plan.
Daily exercise is the best way to help your pet lose weight. You can start walking your dog for 10-15 minutes daily. You can gradually increase the length of your walks as your pup gets stronger.
For your kitty, you can exercise them indoors by encouraging playtime that involves lots of movement. Have them chase a laser pointer or run after a feather wand.
In addition, you can feed them a high-fibre, low-calorie diet that will help them succeed in losing weight. Fibre keeps your pet feeling full for longer.
You can also feed them less food per day or break up one meal into smaller portions throughout the day. Always consult with your vet if you have any questions during this process.
Lastly, keep treats to a minimum. Dog and cat treats have high calories, making weight loss harder. If they are fed treats once in a while, that is okay! You can try making your dog treats at home with low-calorie ingredients! Everything should still be in moderation, though.
National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is a time to reflect on the growing epidemic of obesity in pets and what we can do as responsible pet owners to help address this issue. It is not a bad idea to weigh your dog every so often to ensure they are maintaining a healthy weight. Ask your veterinarian if you don’t know what a healthy weight for your specific dog breed is.
If your pet is overweight or obese, there are things you can do to help your pet lose weight safely and effectively. One easy solution is more frequent walks! York Professional Pet Sitting can undoubtedly help with that. Contact us today to book your weekly dog walks.
Morag is the owner and founder of York Regions most trusted premier in-home pet care and dog walking companies. In 2000 she saw a need for an alternative to kennels, catteries for family pets in the area and has always believed that pets are much happier and less stressed staying in their own familiar environment. Morag and her team are all certified in Pet 1st Aid and CPR, she also offers continuous training to her team members through online and hands on pet care and pet behaviour and care courses. Morag has earned her certificate in Professional Pet Sitting, Professional Dog Walking and Canine Attendant training. She has lived in the Newmarket/Aurora area since 1991 is a wife, a mother of 2 adult children and a grandmother of 2 delightful little balls of energy. She has also been owned by fish, birds, mice, rats, cats, dogs, gerbils and guinea pigs and is an advocate for all living creatures. In her spare time she likes to be involved in her community and events travelling, reading and cooking.