Along with many of their owners, Australian pets are facing the battle of the bulge more than ever before. With all the information we have at our finger tips, why is obesity in our pets on the rise?
It would be easy to lay the blame on the pet owners – after all, those pets aren’t overfeeding themselves – but it’s not as simple as that. Older pets with mobility issues, neutered males, female pets, those living in single pet households, and pets with obese owners are the most at risk of becoming obese.
Why are We Overfeeding Our Pets
One theory is that we’re literally loving our pets to death with food. To show our pets how much we love them, besides hugs and cuddles, we resort to giving them treats to make them happy. Your pets love their treats, so you give them more because you want them to be happy. Combine this with our busy lifestyle that doesn’t always allow for long walks with the dog or extended play sessions with the cat, and the fact that many pets live indoors and can’t run around outside unsupervised, and you have the recipe for overweight pets.
If you were to suggest to the owner of an obese pet that they were being cruel, they’d be horrified at the thought, but technically that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Shorter Life of Pain and Misery
Overweight pets have a much shorter life expectancy than those of normal weight, and they suffer from many of the same things overweight people have to deal with.
Issues such as heart problems, diabetes, joint problems and arthritis, heat stress, breathing difficulties, high blood pressure, and digestive disorders are common in pets who suffer from obesity. If your excuse for overfeeding your obese pet is that you can’t resist that cute little face begging for a treat, just remember you’ll have a lot less time with them if you don’t get their weight down to a healthy level.
So What Can You Do?
The good news is that you have total control over what your pet eats, so that’s the best place to start. Once you’ve had your pet checked at the veterinary clinic for any underlying conditions that could be causing obesity, it’s time to start feeding them properly.
Feed your pet only high-quality pet food and in the amount recommended for their size and breed. Make sure everyone in the family is on board with your weight reduction plan. It’s going to be tough to resist your ‘starving’ pet at the beginning, but just remember you’re doing it because you love them and want them to be healthy and happy.
Increase your pet’s exercise gradually, taking care not to overdo it with older and very obese pets. By including everyone your pet knows and loves, you’ll make the job easier on yourself by having a support team.
Specialist Veterinary Services in Sydney
If you need nutritional advice for your pet or have any other veterinary issues, speak to our specialist vets at Sydney Veterinary Emergency & Specialists today. Book an appointment from Monday to Friday 8:30am-6pm or contact us for emergency and after-hours care. Call us on (02) 9197 5800, contact us online or learn more about our services.