Pawrenting: Why your overweight pet should worry you 

According to experts, overweight pets are likely to have a shortened lifespan and suffer many avoidable health issues.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Their waistline should also be visible when looking at your pet from above.
  • Experts also advise that both cats and dogs should not have a fat layer under their abdomen and the position of a dog’s stomach should be higher than its chest.
  • That is a tucked in stomach similar to an hourglass figure.

As we are gaining pandemic weight, research shows that pets too are adding on weight and it should be a cause of concern.
Research shows that even before lockdown, people were overfeeding their cats and dogs. This is mostly seen when people post their rotund puppies and spherical cats on social media which much as they look adorable, pose a danger to the pets. 
According to experts, overweight pets are likely to have a shortened lifespan and suffer many avoidable health issues.
Overweight cats and dogs are common because most people do not walk or exercise their dogs for the recommended at least 30 minutes per day and many cat owners do not know what their pet weighs as most don’t take them for check-ups where their weight would be measured. It is also common because there is not as much stigma with animals being overweight as with a human.

Die earlier

According to experts, overweight animals are less energetic, less willing to play and generally get less enjoyment from this life. They are also likely to die earlier with a study done by the University of Liverpool showing overweight dogs shave off about two years off their projected lifespan. 
They are also likely to battle health issues like diabetes, arthritis or pain in their joints and have a weak immune system.
How do you tell that your pet is overweight? One, if you touch their ribs lightly, you should feel them but they should not be sticking out. Their waistline should also be visible when looking at your pet from above.
Experts also advise that both cats and dogs should not have a fat layer under their abdomen and the position of a dog’s stomach should be higher than its chest. That is a tucked in stomach similar to an hourglass figure.
Apart from regular exercise for the dogs, look at how much you feed the pets to avoid them piling up weight. Lots of cheese, fatty and sweet food and sneak feeding them under the table especially by children over time contributes to unwanted weight.
If you have a garden, let the pets roam as often as possible and if indoors, engage them in active play, lots of jumping and fetching. Get cats to play with things that they can wrestle with like toys or strings or a ball of yarn. 
Much as it is hard to ignore the pleading eyes of our cats and dogs, cut on the treats, it is for their good as well as yours.

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Maryanne is a pet owner. [email protected]

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