Pet Obesity Prevention
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. That’s a whopping 50.2 million dogs and 56.5 million cats.
Founder of the APOP, Dr. Ernie Ward, stated that obesity is the number one health threat pets face. Even so, obesity itself isn’t the end-all be-all; it can lead to several weight related disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease and cancer. So, what should you be doing to keep your pet’s health in check?
The APOP advises that you ask your vet the following questions:
- Is my pet overweight?
- How many calories should I feed my pet each day?
- How much weight should my pet lose in a month?
- What kinds of exercise should my pet do?
- Is my pet at risk for a medical problem due to excess weight?
Having this initial conversation is crucial to identifying exactly the type of nutrition, exercise and care that your pet needs to remain healthy. Food intake varies tremendously and is dependent upon breed, size, age, and activity level; there is no generic amount that suits each and every animal.
The amount and type of exercise your pet requires to remain healthy is also dependent upon these factors, however the general recommendation is that dogs need at least 30-minutes of activity a day and cats need three 5-minute periods of intense play.
Moving forward, it’s important to incorporate your newfound knowledge into your pet’s daily life. Whether you need to decrease the amount of food, change the type of food, increase the daily exercise or change the daily exercise, your pet will become that much happier and healthier in no time.