Did you know that an estimated 50% of dogs and cats in the U.S, are obese? Yes, our pets are getting fat! Though animals can be very cute when they are plump, as owners, it is our obligation to address obesity in our pets as a problem.
Just like in humans, obesity can greatly affect quality of life for our pets. An overweight dog is subject to a host of metabolic diseases and joint problems. What typically causes obesity in our pets? Are you ready for this? We cause it! Thats right, the good ole well-intentioned pet owner.
"How?" you say.
Well, our pets arent entirely innocent, but basically we fall for a host of tricks or to our own rationales.
4 common mistakes made by owners of fat pets
1. The "You're Such a Good Dog" Mistake
Likely, you pictured the face you make when you say that. Yes, often we rationalize that our pets are so good that they deserve lots of food and yummy snacks. Fat and happy, right?! This is how we show affection, but at some point we have to control this.
2. The "Ahh, Look at That Face"
We succumb to the sad face, the begging face, as if they are saying, Might I have some more, sir? Dont be fooled, the beggar will work you and will eat, and eat, and eat, to their own detriment. We need to be strong. They will live, and actually, they will be happier and healthier if you can exercise restraint in this area.
3. The Smorgasbord
The every day, all day, all-access, food dish. Hey, its more convenient for us and for our pets as well. But it's important to limit your pet's feedings to regular specific times each day. It's good for digestion and, in turn, controlling weight gain.
4. The "But, my pet wont eat that!"If your animal is in healthy shape and you want to provide gourmet, more power to you. But if your animal is obese, they are training you. They are smart that way. Make sure you give your dog or cat proper nutrition and they will likely eat less.
Managing and reducing the risk of obesity in dogs and cats
1. Don't enable your fat dog or cat
Do not fall for the above tricks or make the mistakes of rationalizing. Control the amount of food your pet gets and the type of food. We suggest natural dog foods, which are simple and grain free.
2. Give your dog exercise
Take walks. Take your dog with you on chores. Play with your dog or cat. These activities will increase mobility and keep them busy.
3. Give nutritional support for the obese dog or cat
Reducing or removing grains from your dog's diet is key to maintaining healthy weight. If your pet is overweight, this may also result in an inflamed condition. This is what typically leads to the more dangerous metabolic conditions which can affect heart health, pancreatic health, and joint health. As we have discussed in a previous article, chronic inflammation is most widely observed in a state of obesity, where it is common to have elevated markers of inflammation, including:
- Cytokines (IL-6,IL-8, IL-18, TNF-a)
- Blood Glucose
- CRO (C-Reactive Protein)
Fish oils contain high amounts of the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids play a number of critical roles in the body. One of the most important roles is that they help produce hormone-like chemicals known as eicosanoids. One of the great functions of eicosanoids is that they suppress inflammation. Because of this function, it is thought that excessive inflammation may be due partly to a deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids. Use Celavin. Its rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and because it is produced at one of the most prestigious fish oil production plants in the world, it is extremely refined to remove impurities and toxic metals (which can cause inflammation).
Lastly, if you have concerns about the nutrition your pet has been receiving over time, you can supplement with a high-quality vitamin and mineral formula like Spectrin for Dogs or Spectrin for Cats. Nutritional deficiency may result in the obese pet. By attempting to overcome some of their deficiencies, a dog or cat may overeat. Help them transition to lower food intake with higher nutritional value by supplementing with a vitamin.