Obesity in pets is seen as a silent health crisis: over 50% of pets carry excess weight, a staggering number that continues to rise. The consequences of obesity creep in quickly, leading to a number of severe health problems for our pets, from diabetes and arthritis to heart disease and kidney issues. Cats may also be at risk of hepatic lipidosis and bladder stones.
Keep a keen eye out for signs of obesity tiptoeing into your pet’s life such as reduced activity levels, the struggle to climb stairs or simply get up, skin and dental issues, digestive problems, itching, and frequent urination or unexpected accidents.
Often, those extra pounds on your pet are courtesy of one, or two, treat too many. To put things into perspective, just 28 grams of cheese given to a dog is equivalent to you eating one hamburger. Similarly, offering your cat one slice of salami is like you snacking on a packet of chips and 28 grams of cheese. Small actions can lead to significant consequences for our best furry friends.
But treats are just the tip of the iceberg. Your pet’s age, breed, lifestyle and being neutered can also play a role in weight gain.
Change can be challenging, especially when it comes to curbing those treat-time rituals. We know how the twinkling eyes of our fur babies melt our hearts, but it’s time to embrace a healthier approach.
Managing your pet’s weight will help keep health risks at bay, increase their mobility and overall quality of life, and give you and your pet many, many more precious moments together. With a balanced and nutritional diet, combined with a tailor-made exercise plan, created precisely to meet your pet’s unique needs, you can improve your pet’s health.
Treats don’t always have to be food; they can be cuddles, new toys, or games you can play together. Instead of high-calorie treats, consider healthier options like carrots, apple slices, banana slices, or blueberries. It’s essential to avoid treats that could be harmful to your pet, such as grapes, chocolate, and cherries.
Take “before” pictures to motivate yourself, and reward your pet with toys or fun outings when you achieve specific milestones. Exercising your pet is crucial for their well-being and can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you. Here are some ideas for keeping your dog or cat active:
- Go for walks in different terrains to keep things exciting
- Play fetch on hillsides or stairs for added intensity
- Create a ‘dogstacle’ course in your backyard
- Climb stairs together for healthy leg muscles
- Use interactive toys to encourage movement
- Stimulate their hunting instincts by placing kibbles in various spots
- Have fun with a flashlight for some light-catching action
- Provide a simple box for your cat to play and explore
Remember, your pet’s well-being is in your hands, and by taking proactive steps, you can ensure they lead a long, healthy, and happy life.