Between 20 and 40% of dogs and cats in our homes are overweight.
The main cause of overweight and obesity in our pets is overfeeding, added to the lack of physical exercise.
When our pets eat more than they spend, that excess accumulates in the body as fat, which over time can reduce their quality of life and life expectancy as it can lead to certain pathologies:
- Joint problems
- Cardiovascular problems
- Respiratory problems
- Risk of death during anesthesia
- Depression of the immune system
- Skin problems
- Certain cancers
There are also several factors that affect overweight and obesity:
- Race (Cocker or Retriever dogs, for example, are more likely to put on weight)
- Certain drugs (some anti-inflammatories such as glucocorticoids, for example)
- Sterilization (it involves a lower energy expenditure at rest, a lower sensation of satiety in certain cases, and a decrease in physical activity due to reduced sexual behavior)
- Age (with time, both we become more sedentary, and so do they, which contributes to weight gain)
- Endocrine diseases (such as hypothyroidism)
There are other factors that affect overweight and that we cannot control, hence the importance of changing those habits that contribute to weight gain and encourage those that regulate it. We give you some tips:
- Do not overindulge treats and homemade leftovers.
- Do not provide low quality food. We should try to feed our animals with recipes that are appropriate for their age and activity level (not for their breed).
- Check their body condition and weight frequently.
- Encourage the use of stairs (we will also Benefit from not using the elevator).
- Take long walks (at least one hour a day).
- Encourage playing as a means to exercise (with us and with other animals).
- Avoid leaving them long periods at home alone (boredom can cause them to eat more than they should).
- Monitor if they eat more due to the competition with other animals.
- Avoid leaving freely available food that is accessible all day.
- If the dog shows signs of food anxiety, revisit the way you feed them and seek advice to encourage calm (a calmer environment, increasing the amount daily doses but decrease the amount of food for each dose, usage of interactive toys to get food, etc.)
- It is very important not to exceed the recommended daily amount that appears in the dosage table of the container.
If we believe, after checking their body condition, that your pet is above their recommended weight, it is essential to revisit their diet, as well as our habits, to avoid complications. A well-designed recipe for weight control should feed our pet without generating nutritional imbalances in the medium and long term, providing quality proteins and fats in adequate amounts for these cases, stimulating the metabolism and helping the weight loss to be gradual, without the animal feeling hungry.
Remember that it is in your hand to help them live happier and better.