VERG shares tips for National Pet Obesity Awareness Day
As humans, we understand that being overweight can have serious implications on our overall health and lifestyle. But did you know that our pets can experience the exact same issue?
According to the APOP (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention), around 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are obese. Obesity can lead to reduced life expectancy, diminished quality of life, chronic inflammation, orthopedic disease, kidney dysfunction, respiratory disorders, cancer and much more.
With that being said, October 9th is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day; a reminder to all pet owners of the seriousness that comes with pet obesity and how you can help your pet maintain a healthy weight.
Here are some tips to consider:
Know your pet’s current body condition. Search for online resources that will list out specific breeds and their ideal weight. Refer to the Body Condition Scoring Chart to assess an optimal weight for your pet.
Another way to check for possible weight gain is to place your hands on the side of their chest. If you can’t see and/or feel their ribcage, that’s an indication they may be overweight.
Control calories. Not all food is the same, especially to our pets. Seek out the highest quality whole food ingredients instead of added fillers and preservatives. Limit the amount of table food and treats that you give your pet. If possible, give your pet healthier snack alternatives such as carrots and broccoli.
Promote activity! Animals crave activity as much as we do. They can become restless, especially when cooped up in the house all day. Take time for play, daily walks or outdoor activities, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Those 30 minutes will make a huge difference in the long-run.
Stay consistent. Just like we need structure in our own lives to stay healthy and fit, so do our pets. Fortunately for us, we can rely on self-motivation and discipline. Our pets, on the other hand, heavily rely on us for routine.
Keep a measuring cup in your dog food handy and assign one family member the task of feeding your pet, so that they aren’t overfed. Another great way to establish routine is by using an automatic feeder, allowing you to feed your pet on the same schedule each day.
5.) Talk to your vet
When in doubt, seek advice from your local veterinarian. A veterinarian can help you accurately assess your pet’s weight, and even help you determine the best course of action in reducing fat or maintaining an ideal body weight.