The main reason for obesity among pets is an excessive intake of food coupled with very little exercise. If your pet is overweight, it is likely to face problems with its digestive, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. It will also be more prone to diabetes, arthritis, weakness and intolerance to changes in temperature especially heat. The lifespan of an overweight animal also reduces significantly.
Here are a few tips to check if your pet is getting overweight so that you can take precautions before it becomes too late to take corrective measures.
Move your hands along your pet’s hips. Normally, you should be able to feel two bumps, which are the pelvic bones. You should not need to press down in order to feel the two bones.
Run your fingers along your pet’s backbone. You should be able to feel the ribs comfortably without pressing down too much. If your feel the ribs sticking out, your pet is underweight.
Another way to check for weight problems is to place your thumb and index finger beside the neck, just above the shoulder and pinch the flesh. While pinching, your fingers should not be more than half an inch apart.
Take a look at your pet from the side. The abdomen should be help up firmly and should not be sagging. Similarly, a top view of your pet should allow you to see the waist behind the ribs.
If these checks reveal that your pet is overweight, seek your veterinarian’s advice. Ask him or her for a complete diet chart and exercise plan. Insist on regular check-ups so that you can monitor progress.
Apart from following a strict dietary and physical regimen, you can use the following tips to help your pet go back to its normal weight.
Just because your pet’s bowl is empty it does not mean that it is hungry. Even if your pet cleans up its bowl completely, it may not be an indication of it being underfed. It is better to keep a check on how much food you are giving it to eat so that you can control the amount of intake. Make time to take your pet out for long walks or to schedule a long playtime session. Just letting your pet play on its own is not enough. A properly scheduled time for exercise will help keep your pet’s body toned and flexible.
Keep an eye out for the number of calories that your pet consumes. Check your pet’s food labels and see that you are not feeding it too much of fats. Try and feed your pet low calorie foods that have high quality ingredients. Don’t feed your pet scraps at the table.