The issue with having overweight or obese pets is that, just like a human, your pet's quality of life deteriorates due to associated health problems. Pets who are overweight are more likely to suffer from a variety of illnesses including: cardiac disease, diabetes, neurological disorders, respiratory issues, cancer, arthritis (early onset), skin problems, reproductive issues and premature ageing. Furthermore, since your overweight pet is more prone to being sick, owners end up seeking veterinary assistance more often than people with healthier pets. Quite an unnecessary financial burden in the long run!
A way to improve the situation is to adhere to a strict diet for your pet. Only feed them a certain portion of food twice a day, morning and night. Yes.. they may stare at you with their baby blues or whinge...but don't give in! Select foods that are low in fat and contain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins to maximise their health potential.
Another factor is to up the amount of exercise your pet undertakes. If you own a dog, take them for regular walks. If possible, go to a park where they can be let off their leash and run around. Perhaps you can get in on the action yourself and play catch with your dog so you get a workout as well! Don't over exert your dog at the start, around 20 to 60 minutes of walking each day is a good idea. Then as your pet becomes more fit, increase the intensity of their workouts.
For cat owners, engage more with your cat by tossing them balls or have him/her chase after a bit of string or laser pointer. Aim to play with your cat in 10 to 15 minute intervals a few times a day, particularly if they are kittens or young adults.
Overall, PFMA generally recommends to exercise your dog 7 hours a week, your cat 5 hours a week and 4 hours for rabbits. We guarantee that if you invest time in boosting your pet's physical well being, they will be a much happier and lively pet. You may also see an improvement in your physical self!