They may be cute when they’re potbellied, waddling slowly, with literally more of them to cuddle with, but pets that are obese are unhealthy. Obesity in pets is a nutritional disease where furbabies carry excess fat. They may be one of two things: overweight and over nourished or overweight and undernourished.
When your pet has an excess of calories from their food and lack of exercise, yet they show signs of health such as a shiny coat, good teeth, and high energy (albeit a little slower from the excess weight), they are considered overweight and over nourished. Pets who are obese may have gotten a little too much love from well-meaning pet parents in the form of quality food filled with nutrients.
When your pet has an excess of calories from their food and lack of exercise, but show signs of poor health such as a dull coat, low energy, and loose stools, they are considered overweight but undernourished. Pets like this would benefit from high quality pet food filled with nutrition, and not just empty calories.
Read more here to learn how to choose the best pet food for your pets.
How to identify obese pets
To know if your pet is overweight or obese, you can do the ff:
- Feel around your furbaby’s back, and on their sides. You should be able to feel their spine and ribs with a gentle press. If your hands have to travel a few ‘layers’ before feeling anything firm, your pet is likely to be on the pudgy side.
- Dogs and cats ideally should have a small dip on each side of their bellies, like an hourglass shape. Anything more tubular on their tummy may be time for your pet to lose some weight to keep their health in peak condition.
- Your vet can check your pet for their body condition according to their breed to identify if they’re at a healthy weight.
How to correct obesity
Pet obesity puts your pets at risk by placing extra strain on vital organs and makes them susceptible to obesity-related disease such as arthritis, respiratory issues, heat intolerance, hypertension and diabetes.
Here’s how you can prevent and correct pet pudge.
- Reduce their total calorie intake. You can opt to switch to Fat Pet Food formulas like Natural Balance Fat Cats Low Calorie Dry Cat Formula and Fat Dogs Low Calorie Dry Dog Formula. This is a low calorie yet nutrient dense formula that even gives pet parents feeding guidelines to help furbabies reach a healthy weight without feeling deprived.
Additionally, lessen treats to cut down on their total calorie intake. Let pets get excited over non-edible treats instead such as cuddles and toys.
- Increase playtime and exercise time.
- Read the label of their pet food and check that there are no fake filler ingredients that could be causing them to gain weight from empty calories.