Pet Obesity Becoming Epidemic
Just like with people, our pets, our dogs and cats are getting fatter. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, there are 81 million overweight dogs and cats in the U.S. right now- OVER 1/2 of the pet population is too fat.
BUT is this really a big deal- I mean HOW bad can it be?
Well, there are REAL and significant health risks. Obesity in pets, as in people, is not something to take lightly.
But there are plenty of things you can do. This really is a silent killer that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. IF your pet is overweight, then you are just begging for a health problem to pop up.
Some of the Biggest Health Risks
Cancer- several types of cancer- from Lipomas to serious sarcomas
Ligament injury- especially Anterior Cruciate Ligaments
Liver Disease- especially in cats
High Blood pressure
Diabetes- in dogs and cats
And don’t forget about the fact that obesity is going to cut your pet’s lifespan!
How Do You Know If Your Furry Family Member is Overweight?
Use the Body Condition Score- which rates dog and cat weight on a 1-5 scale.
1 – Ribs, spine and bony protrusions are easily seen at a distance. These pets have lost muscle mass and there is no observable body fat. Emaciated, bony, and starved in appearance.
2 – Ribs, spine and other bones are easily felt. These pets have an obvious waist when viewed from above and an abdominal tuck. Thin, lean or skinny in appearance.
3 – Ribs and spine are easily felt but not necessarily seen. There is a waist when viewed from above and the abdomen is raised and not sagging when viewed from the side. Normal, ideal, and often muscular in appearance.
4 – Ribs and spine are hard to feel or count underneath fat deposits. Waist is distended or often pear-shaped when viewed from above. The abdomen sags when seen from the side. There are typically fat deposits on the hips, base of tail and chest. Overweight, heavy, husky or stout.
5 – Large fat deposits over the chest, back, tail base and hindquarters. The abdomen sags prominently and there is no waist when viewed from above. The chest and abdomen often appear distended or swollen. Obese.
A score of 3 is optimal but more and more vets today are seeing body scores in the 4-5 rage. More than half of all pets are overweight or obese! This is not a joke! Think of the health risks. We are killing our pets with food and treats.
What Can You Do?
DIET – This is the most important thing in creating weight loss. Your cat should be on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. There are specific high-protein feline diets available at your veterinarian or you can make your own.
Your dog’s diet should also change. There are some good commercial weight-loss diets higher in fiber, but you can also have good success with homemade diets higher in protein and fiber, lower in carbohydrates and fat.
This is what I do and have been doing for years now. My vet consistently tells me what great shape my dogs are in with their weight, muscle tone, skin and coat. It’s more than worth every minute I put into it and for me is the added benefit of knowing exactly what my dogs are eating. No artificial colors, no additives, no preservatives, chemicals, by-products, etc.
EXERCISE – Most dogs don’t get nearly enough exercise. Dogs are built to run all day, not spend their life waiting for us to get home from work. Commit to taking your dog out for at least 30 minutes twice daily; try to make it aerobic with a jog or on a bike. Consider a dog-walking service in your area.
For indoor cats, exercise is a challenge. Don’t be afraid to play with cats with toys, string, little balls. I have two cats and I have to admit that my Bruti helps with their exercise regime, he is always chasing them all over the place. Some cats will race madly around when inspired by catnip.
TREATS – Stop any high-calorie treats, such as Pounce or Milk Bones. Try specific low-calorie treats, or even better switch to vegetables.
CONTROLLED FEEDING – Feed your pet controlled amounts twice daily; free-fed pets are often overweight.
CARNITINE – This has been shown to speed up weight loss in cats. The dose is 250 mg daily.
HOMEOPATHIC – Calcarea carbonica 30C can trigger weight loss. Give 3 tablets once daily for 4 weeks. It is worth trying when other strategies are not working.
For more great information, and this is something that I have and use, check out Veterinary Secrets Revealed. Not only will you learn about food, feeding and diet but you will also learn how to treat many minor problems at home, some incredible natural health tips and information for pets. It’s your home medical encyclopedia for pets. Seriously, I cannot tell you how many times I have referred to it for information.
Many of you know that my Jezzie was just diagnosed with arthritis and spondolyosis. I am not a fan of drugs except as a last resort. I have gotten some great advise from people and also found some wonderful information to help Jezzie in this. Information to help aleviate pain and manage the problems. Before I put anything to pactice, I checked with my vet and she agreed whole-heartedly. Luckily I do have a progressive vet who doesn’t turn her nose up at natural health.
It really is worth the time to check out. I’ve gotten some great feedback from people who have.
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