By Dr. DheerajBharadwaj*

Over consumption of calories and inadequate exercise have become a concern for our society, and pets are no exception to this issue. Excessive weight gain is what causes obesity. It is now recognized that overweight and obesity is theNUMBER 1 PET HEALTH ISSUE IN THE WORLD.

  • More than 40% of cats & dogs worldwide are overweight, and yet only a small percentage is treated.

Pets are more prone to experience obesity. It is because often pet owners mix love for their pets with their pet’s feeding habits.Pets deserve to be loved and adored, but love should not interfere with their dietary habits and should not be taken lightly. If your pet is overweight, their lifespan will be shortened, their chances of contracting certain diseases will be increased, and overall, the quality of life will also be deteriorate.

Only 13% of dog owners and 11% of cat owners go to the vet for a weight evaluation. With a healthy and accurate body weight, your dog or cat has a better chance at living a longer and healthier life.

Excessive Weight Gain will Impact Health 

Excess of anything is bad. It applies to the pet’s weight as well. Obesity can lead to many serious health conditions as follows:

  • The disease of joint – most common is osteoarthritis
  • Intolerance of exercise
  • Liver diseases – fatty liver
  • The risk of anesthesia increases, which implies that the pet can have an allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Endocrine diseases such as diabetes
  • Heat intolerance
  • Skin allergies

Along with these conditions, there are certain disorders such as heart disease and cancer, which can occur in overweight pets. While in cats, respiratory issues and urinary tract disease can also occur with excessive weight gain. All these conditions will impact the lifespan of dogs and cats.

Ideal weight is not the same for all dogs and cats as it varies according to their age and breed.

Ways to Prevent Obesity 

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Diet is the most effective way to maintain weight for dogs and cats. Calorie intake should be taken into consideration when planning the diet for your four-legged companion. When dogs and cats are provided a nutritious diet according to their calorie intake having all the components of a balanced diet, then the chance of gaining excessive weight reduces. An ideal diet will include protein, fats, carbohydrates along with vitamins and minerals; Royal CanineVeterinary DietSatiety is the weight management diet backed-up with the most scientific evidence to support safe weight loss and to help avoid weight regain. 97% of dogs lost weight over a 3-month period as it promotes satiety, reducing voluntary energy intake, and begging behaviour. Supplements of vitamins should be given only when instructed by the veterinarian in case of any deficiency. Inclusion of all these in the diet will ensure that dogs and cats get the nutrition they need to be fit and healthy. Along with diet, certain measures should be considered, like avoiding giving leftovers to petevery now and then, to ensure that the pets do not gain weight.

Treats should be given but in a regulated amount. Daily exercising in the form of walking or playtime is a necessity for pets. Pet owners should track their pet’s weight regularly. Food meant for humans is not to be consumed by pets and should be ensured that only pet food is fed to the pets. A routine checkup by a veterinarian is a must. Gaining weight is easy but losing weight is what takes time and effort. Excess weight can be life-threatening for pets. To ensure a long life for one’s favourite pet, weight management using these measures is a must.

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