When we think of animal cruelty, many of us will imagine a starving, bone-thin animal. Sadly, many cruelty and neglect cases result in emaciated animals. However, abuse also occurs when an owner over-feeds an animal to the point of obesity. This is a real occurrence that veterinarians, animal shelters, and rescue groups sadly see when working in the animal welfare field.
Animal obesity plagues 50% of households in the United States. This common plight can be prevented through education and retraining one’s brain to realize how much food your beloved companion animal needs to live a happy and healthy life. The first line of education is your animal’s veterinarian. The second is becoming familiar with each of your companion animal’s dietary and exercise needs. Once you have established what a healthy weight looks like for your companion animal, stick to a regimented diet and adjust for giving treats.
Recently, a dangerously obese male cat was surrendered to our rescue. His previous owners had over-fed him to such a degree, that he weighed over 25 pounds. The cat, could not groom himself or stand for more than a few seconds before collapsing. He would cry out in pain when picked up.
Obesity debilitates a dog or cat’s ability to play, walk, groom, and breath. Obesity also raises a dog or cat’s risk of developing the following chronic health conditions: diabetes, osteoarthritis, urinary tract disease, liver disease, and hypertension.
To help prevent your pet from becoming overweight, be mindful of how many treats you give your pet daily along with appropriate exercise. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), if your dog or cat is overweight, introduce 30-minutes of daily exercise for your dog and three 5-minute activity sessions for your cat along with a healthy calorie feeding schedule.
4 Things To Remember: