Excess of anything is injurious and same goes with the weight. Whether it is a human being or an animal, an overloaded body is bound to offer troubles in the long run. People love the notion to keep pets and these are pampered with all sorts of eatables and delicacies, hardly adhering to the fact that these could demote their health. When the intake of calories is excessively high as compared to the ones that get burned, the problems such as overweight and obesity occurs.
A research performed in the US stated that about 54 million of the US cats were obese while about 34 million of the dogs suffer this problem. What is more interesting is that most of the pet-keepers do not accept the fact that their pets are obese.
How To Know If The Pet Is Obese:
The obesity in the pets could be checked with the following steps:
- Feel the ribs of the pet. These should be felt easily with a negligible amount of fat beside them. Each and every rib should appear distinct on touching. If this doesn’t happen, your pet could be considered overweight.
- Check the base of the tail. It has a slight fat covering where the bones could be felt on pressing. If you cannot find any feel of the bones, your pet has an excess weight.
- Check the bones on the spine, shoulder and hips. These should not be out of feel and if this takes place, the pet needs a check on its weight.
- Look at the pet from the side. The area behind the ribs is way smaller in diameter than the chest area. Contrasting conditions are the symptoms of obesity.
If any or all of the conditions are visibly felt in the body, you definitely need to have a check on the weight of your pet.
Causes Of Obesity In Pets:
Similar to the human beings, pets are also gaining significant weight in their body and the conditions could be unified to quite a noteworthy extent. Some of the sources from which the obesity arises are as follows:
- Diet Offered:
It is one of the major elements guilty of contributing to the weight of the pets. Most dogs and cats love the idea to take in whatever is given to them and in any amount. The masters too do not take into account that every extra bit of food offered has to be dealt seriously and when ignored, could lead to ascend in weight of the pets.
- Treats And Pampers:
While the stipulated amount of food is for sustenance and nutrition, every extra bit of feed in the form of evening treat and ‘follow-the-order’ treats could cause an increase in the weight. The packed extravagant materials from shops consist of a high amount of fat and facilitate an extra amount of body mass.
- Activity Level Of Your Pet:
A pet remains hale and hearty if he is offered rigorous amount of exercise and the activity levels are adequate. When pets such as dogs are taken for a regular walk, they tend to be healthier and their excessive calories are burned more effectively. Lack of exercises and movement would obviously lead to an increase in weight.
- Physical Environment:
This could also be one of the factors that tend to increase the weight of your pet. If your dog is susceptible to an open area, it could walk and run on its own sweet will rather than the one which is accustomed to live in a house.
Effects of Obesity:
Obesity could accompany many cons, as far as its effects on the pets are concerned. A gain in each and every pound of the body weight could worsen the condition and cause serious consequences on the pets. Some of these are:
- Downfall In The Level Of Stamina:
Obesity would lead to sluggishness and fatigue in the pets and they would not like the idea of doing physical activities. Also, they tend to be sleepy, decreasing the rate of metabolism and a further addition of extra inches to the body.
- Respiratory Difficulties:
Fat dogs and cats are more prone to the respiratory problems as the increased body mass makes it difficult to breathe, especially if the conditions are sultry.
- Heat Troubles: As compared to the normal dogs, obese ones are more troubled with an increase in the body temperature. Heat could agitate the dogs while their sluggishness hinders their movement.
- Increased Blood-pressure:
An extra amount of weight could lead to an increase in the blood pressure. The fat deposited in the body could also hamper the rigorous flow of blood.
- Cardiac Problems:
A layer of the deposited fat could surround the heart and in turn render various heart diseases such as irregular pumping of blood or even cardiac arrests. If the problem is not checked at once, the pet would not be able to survive for long.
- Insulin Imbalance:
Extreme body weights could also lead to an imbalance in the insulin level and thereby offer diseases such as diabetes etc. The rise of sugar in the blood could affect the overall functioning of the body including kidneys and nervous system.
- Liver Dysfunction:
The liver of an obese pet tends to behave unconcernedly and it leads to lowering of the digestion of food. This could also cause many ailments related to the digestive tract.
- Low Immunity:
A chubby pet is more prone to various diseases as compared to a healthy one. This is due to the decrease in immunity, caused by a subsequent increase in the weight.
- Risk of Cancers:
The pets that possess more than the stipulated pounds on their body are more subjected to various kinds of cancers. These diseases are a result of tumors that occur due to overweight.
Control of Obesity:
There are some simple steps to check the increasing weight of your pets:
- Calorie Requirements:
Check for the average requirement of calories that your pet needs each day. Vets suggest that a dog needs about 30 calories per pound of the body weight to maintain the present status of weight. An increase or decrease in these would correspondingly affect the weight of the pets.
- Control On The Portions:
It is recommended to use a small bowl for your pet with smaller scoops of food. A larger bowl would definitely offer an extra amount of food to your pets, more than the designated amount. You would feed the pet more and thereby make it over-weighted.
- The Pet Treats:
Heedless of what the outcome might be, pets are offered a wide variety of treats every day. These also add up to the daily intake of calories and could be a cause of increasing weight. Therefore it is required to keep a check on the appetizers which are generally given as snacks or while training the pets. Instead, you could use natural products such as carrots, apples and celery etc. for the evening snacks. These are low in calorie and offer benefits to the body of pets.
- Breaking The Meal Into Several Parts:
If your pet has the habit of feeding itself throughout the day, it could no doubt lead itself to the troubles of obesity. As the pets get old, they become accustomed to the ways their master feeds them. With this they could also develop the art of deceiving their master with the sounds and looks that require food, while they are not actually hungry. Do not feed the pet constantly and if it is too accustomed to asking, try to deviate it to some other work. Divide in the meals would also offer a better digestion of the previous feed and lesser stockpile of the fat.
- Using Vegetables In The Diet:
Fresh or frozen vegetables could replace the kibbles that are high in fat from the diet of your pet. These veggies contain significantly high amount of fibers that keeps the digestive system sound. They also keep the stomach full for a longer period of time, such that your pets do not go hungry at short intervals. You could supplement the diet with sticks of carrot, a few slices of apple or celery leaves as per its diet. Be careful of not giving it the forbidden food items such as tomatoes, onions, raisins, mushroom, garlic, avocado, raw potatoes, pits, stems or any form of seeds. These items could hurt your pet drastically.
When you notice an increase in the body weight, it is better to consult a vet first. The process of losing and gaining weight could also be dependent on the age of pet. If the condition occurs, a slow and steady approach would only help to bring back the normal conditions. The exercises also constitute an important part when you decide to lose extra inches out of the body of your pets. While a healthy body and lifestyle are prominent needs of a human being, the pets do not lag behind in the matter and want the same care for a hearty living period ahead.