Prevention is the First Step: Pet Obesity
It’s hard for everyone to resist an adorable dog pout or a cute cat gaze. But it is important to responsible pet owners to consider their pet’s health and weight before responding with a rewarding treat.
For many humans, feeding is equated as an act of love, especially their four-legged pals. This, however, should not always be the case because chubby dogs and cats, regardless of how cute they look, are more susceptible to health problems and diseases.
Committed to educating the Filipino pet community on proper pet care, the Pet Food Institute (PFI) shares tips on how pet owners can prevent pet obesity and show that true expression of love can come in different ways.
Visit Your Veterinarian
When tackling pet obesity, many pet owners would assume that the most logical way to treat it is to decrease the amount of food to feed but the truth is, managing meals is much more complex than that. The nutrition of both cats and dogs are very nuanced such that feeding and treat-giving must be properly administered.
Veterinarians have observed that one of the most common problems within the pet community would be the lack of knowledge regarding proper pet care and nutrition. Veterinarians have the expertise to understand the pet’s internal health to determine the pets’ ideal weight proportions and their proper diet. Hence, pet owners are urged to consult vets in order to do the proper way of treating pet obesity.
Let’s Get Physical!
Regular exercise is also important for pets, regardless of whether or not they are obese. Pets within the ideal weight can use their daily exercise to sustain a healthy weight. Meanwhile, pets who are overweight or obese should use this opportunity to shed some of those unhealthy pounds, along with a balanced diet that can support responsible weight loss.
Owners must take breed, age, and size into consideration as they plan an exercise regimen that would cater to each pet’s specific needs. For example, some breeds with short snouts or flat noses may have more difficulty breathing during strenuous exercise.
Age, like breed, is an important factor to consider as well. Young dogs under six months, though they have an immense amount of energy, should avoid sustained runs, which can be unhealthy for their developing bones and joints. Senior dogs, on the other hand, may need to take things slow and avoid extraneous activities like jogging.
Last but not the least, owners must choose the type of exercise that fits their lifestyle. Forcing oneself to do something that cannot be done is more detrimental that advantageous. One thing that owners must keep in mind is that exercise can come in the form of games. Playing games as simple as fetch is also considered as exercise.
Monitor Your Pet’s Food and Weight
Losing and maintaining a healthy weight is easier said than done, especially when it comes to a pet’s weight. Owners can use this as a basis to tell whether or not their pet is healthy however most pet owners are not aware of how they can check if their pet is obese.
Veterinarians remind owners that there are three things they need to pay attention to in order to determine whether or not their pets are obese. First, owners must lightly feel the outline of their pet’s ribs when they run their fingers along its side. Second, a pet’s waist should be visible or they should have an hourglass figure when viewed from above. Lastly, pets should have an upward slope around their stomach when they are standing up. If one’s pet does not have any of the three indicators then it is best to consult a veterinarian in order to confirm if their pet is obese and what the next steps in order to address this problem.
Pet owners should also be aware of their pet’s ideal weight. When doing so, owners must remember that each breed is unique and the ideal weight of each breed varies.
PFI is committed in informing pet owners about pet nutrition and proper pet care to keep pets healthy and happy. Through its local initiative, Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured campaign in partnership with the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines (VPAP), PFI seeks to advocate responsible pet ownership to the ever-growing Filipino pet community.