laurenletter

Obesity is More Than a Problem

In Health Tips on March 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

147255562_e19c4ce83a_bPreventing obesity is one way to control and prevent problems in our pets. There are a number of different health problems cats and dogs acquire because they are overweight. Just like humans, pets that eat too much and eat unhealthy food will develop problems.

Problems with Obesity:

An overweight animal has the increased risk of the following types of disease and other risks:

  • Endocrine and metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocortism, insulinoma,
  • Hyperlipidemia and dyslipidemia
  • Orthopedic problems such as fractured bones
  • Cardio and respiratory disease including hypertension
  • Urinary tract problems and reproductive disorders
  • Neoplasia (cancer)
  • Decreased longevity
  • Difficulty evaluating animals, listening to heart and lungs
  • Difficulty drawing blood or placing IV catheter
  • Increased anesthesia risk

Reasons Animals Become Obese:

There are a number of reasons animals’ become obese to start with. Here are a few examples:

  • Calorie intake exceeds their exercise and energy expenditure
  • Neutering and spaying animals tends to decrease their metabolic rate (you should still neuter and spay your pet)
  • Pets are fed too much, given table scrapes, or given too many unhealthy snacks
  • Behavioral reasons like anxiety and depression
  • Not having a standard feeding schedule
  • Genetic disorder

Solution:

When you own a pet, you have a commitment to them. You are there to feed, walk, and care for them. Managing weight is one of those commitments. Trust me, I know it is difficult to control. My cat thinks 4am means its time for breakfast. I struggled to hold back and not feed him, but I don’t wake up that early and he was intruding on my sleep. So, I caved. I would feed him early, then again in the afternoon, and before bed just to shut him up. He had me trained. Until I noticed he was gaining weight. I invested in an automatic feeder that feeds him at 4am. This way he no longer wakes me up. It works! I also cut back on the amount I was feeding him.

Since we all know animals give you that look when they are hungry. The key is to train them! They need to get on a feeding schedule so they know when it’s not time to eat. Second, figure out how much energy they are actually burning each day. If your pet is very inactive, they don’t need a ton of food. If you are having trouble figuring out the best amount to feed, discuss this with your vet. They love to help owners out with things like this. Heck, write me a comment and we can figure it out together.

Lastly, stop with the table scrapes. And never give them greasy burgers from the drive-thru. I know it seems like a fun treat for them, but pancreatitis is calling their name if you do this.

Also daily exercise won’t kill them, or you! I make sure my cat gets a good 5-10 minutes of laser pointer time. It gives him exercise and I can do it while watching TV, cooking, or getting ready. Schedule time for your pet, they need attention.

What ways are you helping keep the weight off?

Comment, post, question, and learn. Lets connect!

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