It’s not just us who are putting our health at risk when we carry extra pounds – obesity is a burgeoning problem for pets too.
Dogs are known to be hungry beasts for the most part. Cats may be famously picky when it comes to their diet. Most of them are inveterate grazers and many are good at self-regulating the quantities they eat, but it’s not universal and weight is increasing as a problem. Concerns have also been raised about the weight of our small animal population and even birds!
When pets pile on the pounds, they put themselves at risk of diseases and other debilitating conditions, including diabetes and painful joints. The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association has assessed that as many as 49% of dogs, 44% cats, 32% small mammals and 11% of birds are obese. So what’s the answer?
People equate size to happiness. If a pet is a bit plump many people think it’s just well fed and must be content. However, the reality is that pets wouldn’t survive like that in the wild and animals can feel under threat being overweight.
Excess weight not only puts stress on joints but also their heart. Obesity can too easily lead to diabetes, and then this will have to be managed for the rest of their days. Pets may even find their lives shortened by diseases related to being overweight. Obesity is quite simply a problem that must be addressed by owners if they want their pets to be healthy.
Because pets, like us, are living longer lives, it is incumbent upon us to comprehend our pets’ nutritional needs to make sure the animals remain content and in good health. Pets, like us, are what they eat.
All animals need a balance of proteins, minerals, and vitamins, but other factors like breed, age, and medical conditions play a part too. For example, Royal Canin produces a Light Weight Care feed for dogs (there is also one for cats) that has a high-protein but low-fat content – it includes a special blend of fibres to promote the feeling of being satisfied but low in carbohydrate.
We use Hill’s Metabolic for our two twin black Labradors. In the past two months Denzel and Margot, 8, have each lost 400g a week on average. Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Canine is made of a unique synergistic blend of ingredients that includes fibre, fruits, vegetables and powerful antioxidants. The cat version is made up in a similar way.
It helps by naturally working with each pet’s unique metabolism, helping avoid weight regain after weight loss and helping pets feel full and satisfied between meals. To support vitality and holistic health it includes a formulation called S+OXSHIELDTM that promotes a urinary environment which reduces any risk of developing calcium oxalate and struvite crystals.
These foods are not only dense and filling, but they also address weight reduction without dispensing with vital nutrients. It’s all about balancing your pet’s diet throughout their lifecycle.
Other factors that can affect a pet’s weight include neutering and overfeeding in early life. Both predispose an animal to weight issues. But many owners struggle to understand what a healthy body shape is for their pets. Royal Canin produces a helpful set of visual charts to guide you.
Some owners are under the misapprehension that the official good weight for a pet seems too low, and as a result, they can tend to overfeed. It’s among the top reasons why so many pets are overweight.
The way to tackle weighty issues, aside from cutting out treats, is to take proper advice from a professional, like your vet, a specialist pet food retailer or even a manufacturers helpline like Royal Canin’s or Hill’s.
Our pets have nutritional needs that need to be addressed daily, so check with your vet on the best way forward for your pet.
The other thing is to make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise with Cats, Dogs & Peace of Mind our professionally trained, experienced dog walkers can work with you to design a walking programme that suits you, your dog and your budget.
When it comes to cats and other small animals, our carers are keen to ensure that your pets are getting the right amounts of food served whenever we visit. We have many customers who request that we stick to their pet’s diet regime and we are very happy to do so.
To find out more about how we can help you keep your pets happy, healthy and in good shape please get in touch.