Pet Obesity and Pet Health

Obesity has not only become a pandemic among humans, but pets as well.  Weight gain can be attributed to over-eating, lack of exercise, genetics, and health conditions.  Obesity in pets is more than a problem, it is becoming a lifestyle.  To combat the effects of obesity in pets, here are some suggestions.

Pets that are obese can develop a myriad of problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and skin conditions.  To determine the appropriate weight for your pet, visit your vet.  He can ascertain the ideal weight for your pet based on breed, bone structure, and type of body.

Once you have these facts, you can then begin a regimen of diet and exercise.  A diet consisting of a low fat and high fiber is the first step.   Refraining from giving your pet treats is another way to reduce weight.  Experts also advise that at dinner time, do not allow your pet in the dining area as he will inevitably want some of the scraps.

Do not leave any food around the kitchen or living room area.  Oftentimes when we are watching TV, we tend to have a snack or two.  Try to refrain from offering this type of temptation to your pet.

As with humans, pets can also become sedentary.  The more weight they gain, the harder it is for them to adjust to a healthier lifestyle.

In addition, there are certain breeds that are more vulnerable to weight gain than others.
For example, a beagle is first and foremost a hunting dog.  Most owners keep their beagles outdoors.  They exercise the beagles daily and are usually taken to open fields on the weekend so they can run and do that which is natural for them.

Conversely, there are beagle owners who keep these dogs indoors.  While they may take them for daily walks, the beagle grows accustomed to the sedentary lifestyle.  While beagles can range in size from 13 inches to 16 inches, the more they gain weight, the more they become sluggish and lethargic and lose the energetic flair they are most noted for.  The lifestyle they lead under these conditions is contrary to their nature.

Let’s face it; you put food in front of any pet, especially a dog, and they can swallow the contents of an entire bowl in seconds.  Even then, they are not fully sated.  Pets that are especially pampered and not given a daily routine can become obese.  One day they are running around and the next day they can hardly walk.

Prevention is the first step in assuring your pet maintains a healthy lifestyle.  They need to burn calories, and exercise can achieve that.  If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs, but are met with folds of skin; it’s time to take put your pet on a diet.

In addition to daily walks, take your pet to the park on weekends or arrange a play date with other pets in the neighborhood.  The more active they are, the less likely they will develop health problems.  Feed your pet the same time every day and refrain from leaving out a bowl of food for them, however, do leave out the dish of water.  This is necessary for hydration and can alleviate their pangs of hunger.

Pets rely on us for everything.  Too much food, and the instant gratification it offers, would be the ultimate disservice to them.