One of the biggest issues with animal obesity is that owners themselves simply don’t recognize it. After all, our pets are our best friends; we see them every day, so naturally a few extra pounds can easily go unnoticed. This is until of course the dreaded weigh in at the Doctors office. When it comes to our pets being over weight there is much more at stake than just good looks. Some of the many health risks resulting from pet obesity include diabetes, joint stress, arthritis, blood pressure issues, heart disease and most importantly, longevity. Maintaining our pets everyday quality of life in later years becomes much more difficult when they are overweight. Obesity in our animals is not only important to recognize, but to control and prevent.
So how can we really tell if our pets are over weight? As DVM Kasja Newlin puts it, when feeling over our dogs ribs it should feel similar to the way our knuckles do when our hand is laid out flat. On the contrary, if your pets ribs feel the same way your knuckles do when forming a fist then they are under-weight. An easier way to tell might be simply standing over your pet, when looking down at them you should be able to see a waist. If you see a tank, your pet is too heavy. Keep track of your pets weight just as you would your own, this way any gains or losses can be easily detected. It is important for pet owners to understand that though your pet being a few pounds over weight may not sound like very much to you, it is to them. In our defense, our pets constant eagerness to eat is easily confused for actual hunger. As DVM Dr. Davis likes to remind us, the important truth is that our pets are a lot like us, we eat because we like to and not necessarily because we are hungry.
If your Veterinarian has advised you that your pet is over weight, or under weight, it’s important to take control of the issue. We don’t want to see rapid weight gain or weight loss in any pet so it is important to cut back or add on to equate the ideal calorie intake. Proper calorie intake varies between each animal. Consult your veterinarian to learn your pets ideal weight. With your pet’s Doctor you can calculate a proper diet in accordance with the recommended calorie intake. After all, we want to see our loyal companions live forever, so lets start feeding them that way!