How Can You Prevent Obesity In Your Pets? - Wagr - The Smart Petcare Platform

How Can You Prevent Obesity In Your Pets?

For many of us, food is what we reach out for whenever we’re overwhelmed with any emotion. Happy about something? Let’s go someplace nice to eat. Sad or depressed? Let’s order in. Most pet parents follow the same approach while feeding their pets. As a gesture of love and affection, we often end up feeding and treating our pets too often, putting them at high risk for obesity.

Among house pets, obesity is spreading like wildfire; according to a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) in 2018, 55.8% of pet dogs and 59.5% of pet cats are considered obese by their vets. If you feel your pet might be part of that statistic, here are some ways you can help them:

Cutting back on the calories

We can all agree that overeating is the most direct cause of obesity, be it in humans or animals. If your furred friends are growing obese, start monitoring their calorie intake.
Learn about their nutritional requirements in-depth and make sure they’re eating the right amount of good fats, carbs, and protein. And if they are already tipping the scale, work out a high-protein, low-carb diet plan for them. Take your vet’s help for it.
Many pet parents also feed their pets three meals a day out of love, which can be problematic. For your dog, cut back to two meals a day: breakfast and dinner.

Cats can even do with one meal a day. Studies have shown that the majority of cats can easily thrive the whole day on a single meal, particularly if they’re already obese.

Encouraging them to exercise

A healthy approach to the weight problem is a good combination of both portion control and exercise.
Start slow. Take them for a 2-3 minute-long run twice a day to first re-build their stamina, and then increase this time gradually. Your end goal should be 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

When it comes to pet cats, this task might seem more difficult, considering how most of them enjoy being couch potatoes. Since it’s nearly impossible to engage your cat in any 30-minute-long physical activity at once engage them for 10-15 minutes twice or thrice a day through toys and puzzles geared to keep them active.

Looking out for diabetes

While obesity in itself is a disease for your pets, did you know that it could also make them diabetic?

Diabetes is not just a threat to humans but also to cats and dogs. Several studies have concluded that one out of every 300 dogs and 230 cats is likely to suffer from diabetes.

Just as with humans, heavy body weight is directly linked to lower production of insulin and, thus, diabetes. Keep track of your pet’s weight and if you see an increase book an appointment with your vet.

Changing their feeder with puzzle feeders

While you take your pets running or play with them for physical exercise, what about their mental exercise? This is where puzzle feeders come in. Using these feeders can make eating a mentally stimulating task for them.
Wondering how these feeders can prevent your pets from obesity? Well, if you’ve ever seen a puzzle feeder, you would already know how different it is from a regular feeder. Your pet wouldn’t be able to take large bites of food from these feeders due to their design; they’ll only be able to grab a handful of morsels at once. Moreover, eating in a puzzle feeder will also take them longer as it slows down the process of eating.
Is your pet depressed?
 
It might come as a surprise to some, but problems of obesity and depression go hand-in-hand in both humans and animals. Some of us start overeating due to depression, while others are depressed about being obese. You might not know this, but your furry friends might feel the same way.
Signs of depression are not so different in animals than in humans. So, if you’re an attentive pet parent, it wouldn’t take you long to figure out if your pet is depressed. If they are, here are some ways you can help them:
  • Prioritize spending more time with them. Loneliness is among the leading causes of depression; so, you must ensure that your pet is not left alone for a long time.

  • Encourage them to play with you. Be it a cat or a dog, they both enjoy entertaining their pet parents and being entertained by them. They’ll naturally be happier if you spend time playing with them and, thus, less depressed.

  • Consider getting another pet. Sometimes, it’s not easy to dedicate more time to your pets. We get it. But if you cannot keep them company for long periods, why not bring home someone else who can? Many pets have overcome depression successfully with another pet by their side, and your pet can, too.

  • Get an expert’s help. If you feel like the matter is getting out of hand, contact your vet right away. They’ll likely recommend you to see an animal behaviorist or therapist who is well-versed in tackling depressed animals.

 

Your pets are more than just your companions; they’re also your responsibility. While it is easy for pets to grow overweight without us noticing, if you follow some simple tricks, you can help prevent obesity in them just as easily.

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