I’d like to ask you a question and I’m going to be blunt: is your pet fat? If so, it’s not alone. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimates that more than half the dogs and cats owned by Americans are overweight. Unfortunately, that’s not the sort of company you want your pet to keep. Here’s why:
Extra weight carries health risks for our pets, just like it does for us. Obesity can contribute to
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- kidney disease
- respiratory disease
Want a quick way to find out whether your pet is carrying extra weight? Check these four areas:
- Ribs – can you feel them? If not, they may be covered by a layer of fat.
- Stomach – is it sagging or bulging? Not good!
- Back – is it wide and flat? Also not good!
- Waist – can you see it? Your pet’s waist should be defined.
Start by asking your vet for a diet recommendation for your dog or cat. Next, add exercise to your pet’s weight loss program. Use a conservative approach to exercise with obese dogs and cats. As the pet loses weight, the amount of activity can be gradually increased.
APOP has compiled a list of toys it recommends to get your pet moving. Here are just a few:
- Go Get It! Ball Launcher by Petmate
- Sway by FroliCat
- My Agility Set Toy by Oscar Newman Luxury Pet Couture
You can find the full list of toys and technology here.
Note: some pets may have a liver, thyroid or adrenal gland condition which causes weight retention and bloated stomach. Certain diseases may need to be ruled out before an effective weight loss program can begin.