Blue Cross blog
Help us battle obesity ‘pet-demic’Posted on 03 Feb 2012
As the year progresses, many of us are working hard to stick to our New Year diets. Have you thought about any other members of your household who might also benefit from a change in eating habits?
2011 brought us the year of the obesity ‘pet-demic,’ and we’re urging all pet owners to help combat this bulging issue.
Last year, Blue Cross vets treated over 1,600 overweight and obese pets at our animal hospitals and clinics nationwide. Our rehoming centres also regularly take in podgy pets in desperate need of slimming down.
The causes are simple: overeating and a lack of exercise.
Carrying excess weight can have serious implications for an animal’s health, including heart disease and diabetes. Other health problems include chronic fatigue, breathing difficulties, arthritis and kidney disease.
If you think your pet could do with shedding a few pounds, these tips from The Blue Cross might help:
- Keep a food diary - Note down everything your pet eats, including treats in between meals and titbits from the dinner table, which should all be counted as part of their daily allowance.
- Do a fat check - Lots of owners might not realise their cat or dog is overweight, but if your pet has no waist when viewed from above and you can’t easily feel their ribs, it’s time to take action.
- Slow down their eating - try feeding your pet from a food ball rather than in a bowl. This makes them work for their food so not only will they burn off some calories, but it will keep their brain active too.
- Keep up their exercise - try playing with your cat or taking your dog for an extra walk for a treat, rather than giving titbits and biscuits. It will not only help them stay healthy, but it will strengthen your relationship too.
If you think your pet may be overweight, consult your vet. It’s important to rule out any medical causes for weight gain and your vet can also advise on the best and safest low calorie diets.
Last year The Blue Cross helped to treat obese pets in our hospitals, rehoming centres and through weight clinics. We provide these services at no cost to our clients. Please make a donation today to help us continue this vital animal welfare work.