According to new health report from researchers at Banfield, approximately, 1 out of 3 pet dogs and cats today are overweight, and these numbers continue to grow. The survey conducted on more than 2 million dogs and about 500,000 cats living across 42 different states in the US revealed a staggering 169% increase in obese cats and 158% in dogs over the past 10 years.
How are they getting so fat?
Like people nowadays, our pets are getting lazier. One key factor to this is due to the fact that most of us live in closed apartments and keep them locked away with very less area to move around. Cats and dogs need regular exercise in order for them to maintain a healthy weight.
And stop using food to show them affection! Most pet owners have a misconception about overfeeding their pets and what qualifies as overweight. Also, there is a growing norm among pet owners that think chubby pets look cuter. This has become so common that many people underestimate their pet’s weight thinking it’s just normal. But according to Banfield, pets are dubbed as obese if their ribs are not clearly visible or felt, and if their waists is hard to see.
Dog breeds with the highest prevalence of obesity are Labrador Retriever, Cairn Terrier and Cocker Spaniel. While, cat breeds like the Manx, Maine Coon and Russian Blue carry the highest tendency. But regardless of breed, it is important to check in with your veterinarian ensuring your pet is always healthy.
Why does it matter?
Just as humans, obesity is a very difficult condition to treat and it requires a lot of commitment from both you and your veterinarian to cure it. It makes your pets more prone to chronic health problems like arthritis, diabetes and other cardiovascular conditions that might cause sudden collapse, easily overtiring, etc.
The exercise plan
Ideally, it is important that you work with your vet to create an appropriate weight management plan for your pets. Or you can also follow these simple tips below to get started-
For dog owners
- Take your canine out for walks around the neighbourhood routinely. If your dog has been inactive for a very long time, walking can be a good start.
- Swimming is another good exercise starter for building muscles.
- Once your dog maintains regular exercise, go with higher impact activities like running or playing fetch.
For cat owners
- Encourage your cats with toys like a fishing rod toy, laser pointer, balls, motorised mouse, paper bags, tissue papers, etc to initiate play behaviour.
- Build a scratching post for them to play.
- Offer parts of their meal using food toys to increase activity while eating.