Fighting Pet Obesity

Fighting Pet Obesity

Pet obesity is an epidemic. Alarming research shows that more than half of America’s pets are overweight. According to a 2014 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 57.6 percent of felines were overweight, and 52.6 percent of dogs followed suit. “Among all diseases that perplex the veterinary community and plague our population of pets, obesity has the greatest collective negative impact on pet health, and yet it is almost completely avoidable,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, vet and founder of APOP.

In our line of business, we see this every day: pets that struggle to walk, breathe, and play because they are carrying more weight than they were meant to bear. The 4-Legged Friends team urges pet owners to take this issue seriously since it can cause a host of health issues. Just like humans, overweight pets have undue stress placed on their organs, joints, and body systems. In some cases, obesity can shorten your pet’s life by several years or lead to a long list of other maladies:

Unfortunately, many pet owners are not aware of what their pet’s healthy weight should be. Begin by speaking to your vet about your dog or cat’s ideal weight. Determine if he or she needs to lose weight, and ask for dietary recommendations. While putting your pet on a strict diet may seem unloving at the time, it is the most loving thing you can do for them. Other proven solutions to remedy pet obesity include:

  • Planning for exercise. Every day, your pet should have the chance to take a walk, fetch a ball, chase a laser pointer, or play with other animals. If you work all day, and your pet is home alone, this is especially important.
  • Avoiding table food. Don’t placate your pet with treats from the table. If it’s time to reward them, stick with nutritious treats made from simple ingredients (salmon, sweet potato, or vegetables). Better yet, reward your dog or cat by playing and cuddling with them—and don’t get carried away with extra calories.
  • Ditching the automatic feeder. These types of devices allow overweight animals to graze all day. Unless your feeder has portion control or a timer, manage your pet’s food intake yourself.

Daycare Keeps Pets Healthy & Active

Plan one-on-one playtime with your cat to prevent weight gain or encourage weight loss, and consider sending your pup to daycare one or more times a week. At 4-Legged Friends Daycare & Boarding, dogs of all ages enjoy our cageless facility. We control their food and treat intake based on your specifications, and they’ll be burning calories while they run and wrestle with friends.

Join us in the fight against animal obesity—and keep your furry family healthy and active for years to come.