It’s all too common that we stress over our weight — tracking our calories, measuring out food, and taking all sorts of steps to achieve that perfect beach body. You only need to look at all the fad diets that have come and gone to realize that our weight is a major facet of our identity. Indeed, maintaining a healthy weight and fighting obesity is one of the biggest recommendations doctors give to improve a person’s overall quality of life—but what about the furry members of our family? Recent studies have identified 58% of cats and 53% of dogs as overweight.
Not only does excessive weight or obesity drastically impact our pets’ general health, it also reduces their overall quality of life. A wheezing, lumbering pet does not have the energy to go for walks or play fetch properly. While it’s hard to say no when they beg for more food or treats, and it’s certainly a joy to see how happy they are when they get their way, giving in can be causing more harm than good.
To raise awareness about this issue, this year’s National Pet Obesity Awareness Day will be held on October 12. Please spread the word and support your local veterinarians who are leading any events about the issue. To help you prepare, we’ve got some tips to help you check whether your pet is overweight or obese.
Check for a distinct waistline
The first step: Get a bird’s-eye view of your dog or cat and see if you can spot a tuck at the waist. If not, this is your first clue that there could be a problem.
Check your pet’s collar
Once your fur baby is fully grown, he or she shouldn’t do much more growing. That’s why it’s a red flag if your pet’s collar seems to be getting “tired” and needs to be adjusted to a larger size. It could mean that your pet has been gaining weight.
Check how your pet is breathing
Panting is a normal part of being a pet, but if all activities seem to make your pooch or kitty pant excessively, there could be a problem. If this happens after even low-intensity exercise, that panting indicates that your pet is having trouble breathing, which could be related to excess weight. And if that’s not the cause of the breathing issues, you should still definitely pay a visit to your vet.
Check how well they’re getting around on their own
Is your pet is having trouble getting in and out of the car, up and down furniture, and even up and down the stairs? While age or other medical issues can be a factor, so can weight. When pets weigh more than they should and especially if they’re obese, they often have joint pain. As a result, that pain could make them move gingerly. And even without joint pain, the extra weight can slow them down.
We understand it’s hard to always be on top of our pets’ nutrition — after all, they can be curious and crafty in their search for extra food. One of the best ways we’ve found to address an overweight pet is to have a pet sitter. The extra engagement and attention can help distract them from looking for treats, as well as give them valuable exercise that will help keep off the pounds.
While excess weight isn’t the end of the world, it’s definitely a stressful situation for both you and your pet. What’s important is that you work with your pet and pet sitter, and provide support to your pet as best you can.
Our Pet Nannies at Pet Nanny Inc are ready and waiting to help you and your pet adjust to an obesity-prevention lifestyle. Follow us on our social media accounts or give us a call at 734-981-6108. Alternatively, you can use our on-line contact form and we’ll get in touch with you!