How To Curb The Pet Obesity Epidemic | News

STILLWATER – For many people, staying fit and active is part of their lifestyle. They make time in their weekly routine to exercise and eat well. Humans should do the same for their pets.

“Obesity has a negative effect on pets, just like it does on humans,” said Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, veterinarian at Oklahoma State University Extension and director of continuing education for the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University. university. “Excess pounds can increase the risk of disorders, such as diabetes, kidney dysfunction, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. The extra weight also decreases your pet’s quality of life and can shorten their life span. of life.

Like humans, animals can gain weight for a variety of reasons. In addition to disease, Biggs said contributors include poor diet, inadequate exercise and changes in metabolism.

The best way to know for sure if an animal is obese is to have it weighed at a veterinary office. The veterinarian can determine if an animal is overweight based on its size and breed. It is important to remember that a healthy weight will be different for each breed.

“A dog is considered overweight when it weighs 10 to 20% more than its ideal weight. Often pet parents don’t realize their pet is overweight,” Biggs said. “Your vet can tell you what your pet’s ideal weight should be and help you come up with a plan to get rid of those extra pounds.”

Stillwater vet Dr Amy Storm said a vet will perform a physical exam and possibly advise diagnostic tests to help determine if an animal is overweight and why.

“Generally consuming too much food is why Fluffy can be a little too fluffy; however, health conditions can certainly contribute to that as well,” Storm said. “It’s important to be honest about how much food your pet eats daily. Tell your veterinarian which brand of food you are using. It’s amazing how many pet owners can’t tell their veterinarian exactly what brand and type of food their pet is eating. Having this vital information will help your veterinarian develop a feeding plan.

Knowing exactly how much an animal is consuming can be difficult to determine if everyone in the family is giving Fluffy a treat at random times, or if there is a toddler in the house who is constantly dropping food from the tray. of the high chair.

Storm offers these suggestions for keeping track of your pet’s food intake:

• Measure with a measuring cup the amount of food put in the bowl at each meal.

• If free feeding, measure the amount of food put into the empty bowl each morning and measure the amount remaining the next morning. Adjust the food measure for that day accordingly.

• Set specific times for treats and make sure everyone in the family knows the schedule.

• Once a weight loss plan has been established, frequent weight checks are encouraged. The veterinarian can help determine how often a check-up is needed. Exercise will also play a part in a weight loss plan.

• Exercise is an excellent tool to help a pet lose weight. If the animal has health problems, consult a veterinarian first.

“Toys that encourage movement are great, especially for cats. Hiding kibble or treats in a cat treat ball or another type of interactive toy that encourages movement is a good idea,” Storm said. A feather wand or laser lights will also help your feline burn extra calories.”

With spring just around the corner, Biggs suggests taking advantage of fitness opportunities in the neighborhood, like the dog park or the fitness trails.

“Educating pet owners about the health risks of pet obesity is the first step toward raising healthy pets,” Biggs said. “Keeping pets healthy is also good for owners.”

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