Pet Obesity - Questions & Answers
Obesity is becoming more and more common among pets in America today. It can be due to a number of reasons, however; in most cases pet obesity can be prevented by owners. Below you will find answers to some of the most common questions about pet obesity and tips on how to keep your pet healthy.
1) Can pets be overweight? This answer is definitely YES! Approximately 30 to 40 percent of all pets in the U.S. are overweight, making pet obesity one of the most common conditions afflicting companion animals in American homes.
2) Is it really unhealthy for my pet to be overweight? Yes it is. An unhealthy weight can cause some of the same problems in animals as it does in humans including respiratory problems, diabetes, arthritis, dog heart disease and an all over shorter life span. Since pets generally weigh much less than people, weight gain of just a pound or two can make a big difference in their overall health. That is why it’s so important to watch your pet’s diet and activity level.
3) Is my pet overweight? The best way to find the answer to this question is by checking with your veterinarian. If you pet is overweight, the vet can discover if there is an underlying reason causes your pet to gain weight, and then give you tips on proper weight loss. Your vet can also recommend a pet diet plan and exercise routine. To monitor your pet’s weight at home, feel his ribs. If you can feel them fairly easily, your pet is probably not overweight. However, if you have to press harder to feel the ribs, he is probably overweight. It is also important to know that every pet breed has a different ideal weight range. Check with your veterinarian to find out what your pet’s ideal weight is.
4) What is an appropriate diet for my pet? Just like with humans, the best way to minimize unhealthy weight gain is to control your pet’s caloric intake and make sure he gets the right amount of exercise. Controlling calories can be done by giving your pet less food, and providing dry food instead of wet canned food. Feed your pet one to two times per day, don’t allow all day buffet style eating… some pets truly can’t control themselves and will graze all day if allowed to. If your dog likes to beg, avoid feeding him from the table, however, you can feed him low-calorie snacks, including apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes, and green beans. Remember not to overfeed him any of these snacks as animals can’t digest them as easily as humans. Try to avoid feeding your pet excessive treats because they are high-calorie and can contribute to weight gain.
Remember, the best way to get all your questions about pet obesity answered is by talking to a veterinarian. Your vet can come up with specific tips that are tailored to your pet’s life and health. Keep in mind, the key to controlling weight is by controlling calories and providing opportunities for exercise. If you think your pet suffers from pet obesity… chat with your vet, you’ll be glad you did.
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