Pet obesity. It’s become just as problematic as human obesity. But there are things you can do to keep your pet’s weight under control.
A recent news article quoted Banfield Pet Hospital, the world’s largest veterinary practice, on the sticky subject of pet obesity. They said that pet obesity has skyrocketed over the past 5 years — 37% higher in dogs, and 90% higher in cats.
Obesity is just as dangerous to pets as it is to humans. It serves as a risk factor for numerous diseases and could reduce your pet’s lifespan considerably. Here’s how to keep it under control.
Start With Feeding Times
Auto-feeders may seem to offer you a convenient way to keep your pets fed. But they can also encourage pets to overeat.
Instead of using an auto-feeder, you should establish a regular morning and evening feeding schedule. Dole out a serving size of pet food and pick up food bowls when pets are done. Water is the only substance that should be readily and consistently available to them.
Don’t Slip Them Human Food
Pets metabolize food differently than humans do. Even a small table scrap can pack a big punch.
Help Your Pets Get Regular Exercise
Dogs probably face fewer obesity problems thanks to regular walks with humans. But if your pooch is packing on the pounds you might want to pick up the pace, opting to jog instead. It will be good for you, too!
You can’t walk cats, but you can still encourage them to exercise and play with regular hunting games. Cats are easily entertained by a piece of string, so this exercise option doesn’t even need special toys.
Visit Your Vet
If you’re doing everything you can to manage your pet’s weight but are still seeing problems, it’s time for a check-up. Underlying medical problems like hyperthyroidism may be causing your pet’s weigh problem, and that’s treatable. Your vet may also be able to suggest alternative food brands which could serve your pet better. There are even some prescriptions that may be able to help, so don’t be afraid to ask.
With time, patience, and a few habit changes, your pet can enjoy a healthy weight and a long life.