The dangers of obesity
The two main causes of obesity in pets is lack of exercise and over eating, some diseases can also cause obesity and if you suspect this is the case, we would recommend you book in a visit with your vet.
There are also other factors which can affect a pet’s weight in their lifetime. These include:
- Neutering: Pets are normally neutered at a young age – around the time their body starts decreasing the need for extra food for energy and growth. So if you carry on feeding your pet the same amount of food after they’ve been neutered, it’s likely they’ll start piling on the pounds!
- Breed: Some breeds of cat and dog are more prone to putting on weight than others. For dogs a few are: Labrador, Golden Retrievers, Pugs and Boxers. For the full list visit Pawsitively Pets website. For cats: Ragamuffin, British Shorthair, Persian and Birman. For the full list visit Kitten Toob website.
- Age: Older pets are more likely to put on weight than younger pets.
With a lot of hard work and determination both over eating and lack of exercise can be remedied to give your pet back the fit and healthy body they deserve. We have outlined some top tips on how to do this later on in this article. If weight is not lost and your pet continues to be obese, it can lead to the following serious health conditions:
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Respiratory distress.
Due to the increased risk of serious health conditions and general strain on the body because of the extra weight being carried around, obesity also sadly reduces the lifespan of pets.
Signs your pet is obese
There are quite a few signs to look out for to tell if your pet is obese, one of the easiest ways to check is by using condition scoring. Visit the Royal Canin website to use their body condition score. Please note if you are ever unsure check with your vet.
How to fix it
One of the main contributors of obesity in pets is diet. Generally pets get obese because they simply eat more than they actually need. On top of this, their adorable little faces tend to sway us all too easily to give them that extra fatty treat or tasty table scrap – not ideal for a borderline podgy pet!
So to get your pet back in shape, it’s time to crack down on the overindulgence and start on a diet boot camp! Here are our top tips on putting together a healthy diet routine for your pet:
- Tip 1: Start your pet up on a specified diet food. We recommend Royal Canin Weight Management Food, which can be bought from your vets and contains joint supplement as lots of overweight pets suffer with osteoarthritis. As a Healthy Pet Club member you will benefit from 10% off this food and if you have your card stamped, you’ll get your 6th bag free! Make sure to thoroughly read the instructions on the bag of food and weigh out the exact amount for your pet’s weight per day.
- Tip 2: Cut treats and table scraps out! Yes we know it’s difficult to resist the ‘begging face’, but we promise it will do your pet the world of good. Although it’s not all doom and gloom, there are some healthy treats out there. Just pop into your vets and they’ll be able to recommend some healthy alternatives.
Fun tips to lose weight with your pet
We all tend to eat a little too much over Christmas and it’s the same for our pets with all the sweet and fatty treats they’re gifted over the festive period! So why not jump on the New Year’s resolution band wagon and lose weight with your pet?
To help you do this, we’ve come up with some fun and challenging activities for you both to try:
- Tip 1: Walking
Walking is a brilliant way to get fit and healthy for both you and your dog, and can be made really fun and interesting. One way of doing this is by trying interval training, for example:
- 2 minute walk
- 30 seconds jog
- 2 minute walk
- 30 second side step
- 2 minute walk
- 30 second sprint
- 2 minute walk
- 30 second skip
- And so on, gradually increasing the amount of minutes doing each activity over time…
- Tip 2: Dog agility
Take part in a dog agility class or if you don’t fancy that, it’s really easy to set up a course in your back garden. All you need is:
- Jumps: Flower pots or for a higher jump garden chairs and bamboo sticks work brilliantly. Make sure the pole can be easily knocked over if hit so your dog doesn’t injure themselves.
- Weaves: Bamboo sticks stuck in the ground or you can buy some cheap cones.
- Tire jump: A hula hoop propped up by garden sticks makes a great circle type jump!
- Tunnel: A kid’s play tunnel will do perfectly or if you’ve got a couple of large, long cardboard boxes, stick theses together and they’ll work well too.
- Tip 3: Fetch and dog tag
There’s nothing better than a good ‘ole game of fetch or dog tag to get the heart racing. Grab your dog’s favourite toy and lots of energy and you’re good to go.
- Tip 4: Play a game with your cat
There are loads of cat toys to choose from and all cats have their preferences, so it may be a case of trying a few before you find the one they enjoy the most. Some ideas are as follows:
- A string toy: A toy mouse or bird on a string normally works a treat and will get your cat running, jumping and sometimes even doing flips! Do this twice a day and your cat should start to shed the pounds in no time.
- Laser light: Not all cats enjoy running after a string toy, some prefer a laser light. Move the laser light along the floor and up the wall and your cat will enjoy running after it to try and catch it.
- Balls: A ball with a bell in the middle or even a ping pong ball is great fun for an inquisitive cat that needs to burn off a bit of energy. Roll the ball toward your cat and they should start batting it around themselves and chasing it round the room. Another fun one, which works well with kittens, is to put a ping pong ball in a bath (without water in!), pop your kitten in there and they should have hours of fun chasing the ball around.
To book your pet in for a FREE weight check, contact us today.