Obesity is an extremely common problem in pets and, as with humans, poses great danger to the health. An overweight pet has many added stresses upon the body and is at an increased risk of diabetes, liver problems and joint pain. As a pet owner it is important that you inform yourself about the dangers connected to pet obesity. Here is a bit information for you:
Obesity can be defined as an excess of body fat influencing the health, welfare and quality of life and is mainly caused by overeating and a lack of exercise. Obesity can affect all types of pets, regardless of type and breed. Diabetes, heart and lung diseases, bone diseases and different types of cancer are more common in overweight animals, as is the risk of a shorter life.
Signs & symptoms of pet obesity
It may be difficult to see if your furry friend is overweight as you, the owner, see your pet all the time and, therefore, aren’t able to notice gradual weight changes. However, here are a few warning signs:
- Can you feel your pet’s ribs? Try to touch the chest. If you’re having to feel around, or apply pressure before making contact with a rib bone, your pet may be overweight.
- Difficulty breathing. Dogs, and other pets, who are having consistent trouble breathing, or dogs who become tired quickly, may be obese.
- Is your pet suffering from digestive problems? Pets who eat too many calories and burn off too few are at higher risk for developing dangerous conditions that affect the body’s ability to regulate and cleanse itself. The most common signs of digestive disorders are diarrhea, vomiting, weakness and flatulence. If you notice any of these signs, bring your pet to the vet immediately.
- Body shape. Take a good look at your dear pup! If there is no difference in girth from ribs to hips it is likely that your pet is dangerously overweight.
- Exercise intolerance. Obese pets may move gingerly and often tend to seek resting positions.
Managing Pet obesity
First of all, your dog should be given a reasonable amount of regular exercise, such as one or two brisk daily walks. Increasing physical activity can be a valuable contributor to both weight loss and maintenance.
Secondly, be aware of your pet’s diet and eating behaviors. Overweight animals consume more calories than they require and you, as owner, are responsible for the daily meals. As a starter, you should remove your pet from the room when the family eats and only feed meals and treats in your pet’s own bowl. Additionally, it is wise to reduce snacks or treats and keep your pet’s attention with non-food related activities.
Last but not least, you have to be aware of your own behavior. Perhaps you are giving your pet too many treats? And too less exercise? A successful weight management plan requires permanent changes in the behaviors that have allowed your pet to become overweight in the first place.
So, does your pet maybe need a new workout routine or smaller food portions? If you don’t know whether your pet is overweight or not, it is always a good idea to consult a vet before you create your own “pet weight loss program”. The best way to make an appropriate dietary and exercise plan is to speak with a professional. And, to avoid the dangers of pet obesity, be sure that you follow the feeding and exercise guidelines set by the vet.
Keep track of your pet’s activity level and health
To avoid the dangers of pet obesity you can manage your pet’s activity level and health with the Tractive Motion Pet Activity Tracker.
Tractive MOTION tracks your pet’s activity 24 hours a day and provides detailed statistics of your pet’s activity, directly on your smartphone. The Motion device categorizes the activity level in three categories, ‘lazy’, ‘active’ and ‘dynamic’, and tells you whether or not your pet needs to be more active. Several sensors provide useful health information to you and your pet’s vet. Tractive Motion works with free apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Download the free Motion apps and keep your pet healthy and happy.