Obesity in Pets
While we are all focused on our own weight loss journeys, we may be looking past the health of members of our family that are just as important to us, our pets. Obesity is something that happens in pets as well, not just people. According to the CNN article, Obesity Epidemic Strikes U.S. Pets, here, 53% of dogs, roughly 41 million dogs and 55% of cats, roughly 47 million are overweight in the United States. There are many reasons that could cause obesity in pets such as: unhealthy eating habits, high-calorie foods, receiving frequent treats, neutering, alternating diet schedules, insulinoma, hypothyroidism and inability or lack of exercise. Pets can start to gain weight if they are over nourished, have a preexisting tendency to retain weight and or due to the environment they live in. Obesity is most prevalent in middle-aged dogs, ages 5-10 and it’s more important to keep track of the health of neutered and indoor dogs because they are at higher risk as well.
Just like people, animals’ weight can fluctuate but it’s important to know the ideal weight for your pet just as you would like to know for yourself. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), here, here are the ideal pet weight ranges for the following dog and cat breeds:
· 75-95lbs German Sheppard
· 65-80lbs Labrador Retriever
· 65-75 Golden Retriever
· 40-50lbs Bulldog
· < 7lbs Yorkshire Terrier
· 8-10lbs Domestic Cat
· 7-12lbs Persian
· 10-25 Maine Coon
· 5-10 Siamese
Other ways to determine if you cat or dog is obese other than the number that reads on the scale is by looking at their physical attributes. A dog or cat is considered a healthy weight if they are the following: their ribs are easily felt, they have a tucked abdomen (non sagging stomach) and their waist is able to be viewed from above. A cat or dog is considered overweight if they are the following: it’s difficult to feel their ribs under fat, they have a sagging stomach (as in you’re able to grab a handful), they have a broad and flat back and you’re unable to see their waist from above.
Some people think that having an overweight dog is endearing and sometimes even funny but the true facts state that if you have an overweight animal, you are putting a loved one in serious risk of danger for a multitude of health problems. According to the APOP, the primary risks for overweight animals is osteoarthritis, insulin resistance, Type II Diabetes, cranial cruciate ligament injury, high blood pressure, kidney disease, many forms of cancer and the lowered life expectancy by about 2.5 years.
The risks that come with the extra pounds on your dog and cat are very serious but the good news is is that there are steps you can take after diagnosis to better the problem. According to Pet MD, here, owners can take the following steps after receiving news that their dog or cat is overweight: follow up with the veterinarian about once a month to keep track of your animal’s progress, keep a true and honest commitment to the health of your pet and all the steps needed to reach the goal, take your animal on two 15 minute walks a day or play with them inside the house in a manner that could increase their heart rate, feed your animal a high protein, high fiber, low fat diet and reconfigure your animal’s feeding schedule.
Sometimes the environment one lives in can limit the ability to take your animal outside for a walk or to play because it is simply too hot, but it’s important to work around limitations towards a happy and healthier pet. Exercise can also raise both of your happiness levels too!
As pet owners, it’s very important to do all that you can to ensure the health and safety of your furry little friends because as extensions of your family, one would never want to put a loved one at risk.
Disclaimer: The Escali Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. More