A third of New Zealand's pets are overweight. More than 30 per cent of canines alone in New Zealand are struggle with weight problems.
And, while a paunchy pet may appear normal and happy, it is unlikely to be healthy. There is never an acceptable excuse for an overweight pet- other than some rare medical conditions.
In the wild, a dog has to learn to eat fast and gorge as there is rarely food available as readily as we provide it in a domesticated environment. Because they may not know when the next meal will be available, they are driven to eat as much as they can at once. This characteristic can be seen in domesticated dogs, too – just watch how fast your dog gulps down his food next time you feed him.
As for your cats- they were made to hunt, and then eat every important piece of their prey, including the nutrient-dense parts of the prey animal, such as the blood, plasma, tongue, pituitary, adrenals, prostate, brains, eyes. The nutrient content of cat treats and some roast chicken under the dinner table will never match the nutrient content of the wild prey.
We need to train our pets to eat a small daily meal, at similar times. Providing treats and in-between-snacks does not do your pet any favors medically and should only be given sparingly or used for training purposes
Obesity Related Problems
Obesity in pets can cause similar problems to that which it causes in humans. Obese pets do not have the quality or length of life they deserve: 80-90 per cent of significantly overweight pets will eventually suffer a medical issue because of it. The most common problems vets see associated with fat pets are:
Ligament issues due to strain
Obesity - What To Do?
- Start by removing all excess food from your obese pet’s diet. Small, frequent feeds stimulate a higher weight loss than one meal a day as every meal requires calories and energy to digest. Two meals will also reduce begging, which is a natural activity.
- Overweight pets should be fed the best possible diet their owner can afford. Premium foods generally provide all the necessary nutrients and energy to help pets lose weight in a sustained way. Lower quality foods could bring about nutrient-deficiencies. Come in and see us to discuss the best options for your cat or dog.
- Raw dog food diets are becoming popular. It’s easy to control the portion sizes with a raw diet and the variety of flavours mean meal time is never dull for the animal. Along with our prescription foods we have a great range of raw foods to choose from.
- Let everyone know your pet is on a diet so the plan is adhered to; neighbours, children, grandma, everyone! And ensure children don’t feed your pet sneaky leftovers.
- Speak to your vet. If you have concerns about your pets health, we are here to advise you. Whether its simply the weight management you need advice on- or you think your pets weight has impacted their general health, let us know!
Exercise Your Dog or Cat
To trim those extra pounds you will need to start out slowly and increase the amount of exercise as your dog loses weight. Good forms of exercise are walking up and down hills and swimming. If your pet doesn’t like swimming, you may want to try hydrotherapy. During summer, try to limit exercise to the cooler parts of the day.
Though we can’t take our cats for a walk, they do enjoy play time! Get some stimulating toys like little mice or feathers to chase around the room, add some catnip in for extra fun. Climbing is another natural cat behaviour, have a cat tower or trees outdoors they can explore- it’s a matter of finding out what your cat enjoys and ensuring you get them moving daily!
Tags: Pet, Pet Health, Dog, Pet care, Cat, Pet and Vet