If your pet is obese, are you guilty of animal neglect?
If you ask me, I would say “YES” without a doubt…YES! If you type “fat dog pic” into your browser, pictures of overweight animals will come up with videos that are supposed to be funny but in my opinion, they are not. For me, seeing an animal under-nourished or over-nourished is, in my opinion, neglect!
What can obesity cause in dogs?
Obesity also becomes more common in old age because of the normal decrease in a dog’s ability to exercise. Unhealthy eating habits, such as high-calorie foods, an alternating diet, and frequent treats can also bring on this condition. Other common causes include: Hypothyroidism or a medical related issue.
“Thomas has been dealing with a back issue and sitting in a chair kills him”. So he has claimed the living room floor as his office and the monsters love it”. “Here is Jake and Maggie helping him work on his presentation”. 🙂
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention “an estimated 52.6% of US dogs and 57.6% of US cats are overweight or obese.”
The Association identifies the following diseases/disorders that most commonly result from obesity:
- Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart and Respiratory Disease
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
- Kidney Disease
- Many Forms of Cancer
- Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)
What can you do to help a pet that is obese?
Weigh and keep track of your pet: There may be some physical clues that your pet is overweight such as you can’t feel your pet’s ribs or see your pet’s waist. The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) developed a set of Pet Size-O-Meters to help roughly evaluate your dog, cat, rabbit, bird or guinea pig.
Take your pet to the vet: A veterinarian will know better what numbers are in the healthy range. The veterinarian can also perform a physical exam and other relevant tests and help guide you as to the proper weight your dog should be for their size and breed.
Know what your pet is eating: As with food for people, read the labels. Check the nutritional content and beware of claims that are not backed with proof. Beware of fat, sugar, salt, artificial ingredients and processed food. Also, be aware of where your pet may be getting extra food such as from table scraps, the garbage, other people. I personally do not allow table scraps or other’s feeding my dog or giving them treats.
Keep track of how often and when your pet eats: Keep your pet on a feeding schedule and keep the same measurements of food a day. I have a measuring cup that I use. Also make sure that the cup is cleaned properly especially when transferring to a new bag of food. You don’t want to contaminate the new bag.
Get your pet moving: Taking your pet out for a short walk to do his or her “business” is not enough, especially if your pet needs to lose weight. Make sure your pet gets moving regularly and for at least 20 minutes a day.
Be aware of what medications your pet is taking and make sure that they are necessary: Medications have side effects and may cause your pet to bloat or fluctuate in weight.
Beware of weight-loss scams: Any time a problem emerges, scam solutions are sure to follow. Make sure that whomever gives you advice has the proper experience and expertise.
Our pets rely on us to help keep them healthy and strong. It is 100% our responsibility and should not be taken lightly. I was recently told that Jake was to fat and should go on a diet by a total stranger and I politely responded that I thought he looked great. I could say that with confidence because I keep up with regular vet checkups and was just told he looks healthy and happy by our vet. I can also say that I have years of experience owning a dog and have always been diligent in keeping up with monitoring their weight and good health. I like a happy medium…not to skinny and not to fat :-).
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