Pet Obesity Awareness Day – 14 October 2015

The “excess baggage” that our animals may carry can be a very important factor affecting long-term health. Extra weight can be a burden to an animal with sore joints and it may lead to health problems later on such as diabetes.

Good nutrition, ideally feeding a balanced raw food diet with optimal amounts of nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants with no chemicals and preservatives can go a long way to helping to prevent obesity in your pet.

Here are some tips to help keep your pets weight optimal:

  • Quality of food is important! Feed cats and dogs a well balanced diet of good quality and fresh or pre-frozen raw meat; Dogs and cats are carnivores and depend on meat to meet their energy needs. Many cats and dogs are prone to obesity when they are fed carbohydrate rich diets and unfortunately many commercial foods have this as their main ingredient.
  • Don’t feed too much! The amount of food fed is the next critical step in helping to regulate a healthy weight. Feeding too much food will cause the excess to be stored as fat. If your pet isn’t losing weight after 2 weeks on a set protocol then you will need to cut down further on the amount that he/she’s being fed.
  • Limit snacks and treats, especially where they are unhealthy foods such as cake. They provide extra calories which may be stored as fat. Rather give a small treat instead of a whole biscuit; your pet will enjoy it just as much. Feed a large raw or rawhide bone or a pigs ear for your pet to chew on, or add extra vegetables (not potato) if you need to bulk their food up as these are high in fibre and won’t easily be stored as fat.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are extremely helpful to aid the body in burning excess bodyfat! Supplementing your animal’s diet with this wonderful nutrient found in high concentrations in flax oil and good quality fish oil will make a tremendous difference not only to their weight, but to their overall health and well-being.
  • Exercise is an extremely valuable tool to enable the body burn excess fat. Always start off with a gentle walk (500m) in unfit and obese animals and gradually build up over several weeks to a few kilometres.
  • Although the scale can be a useful tool to monitor your pets progress, muscle weighs more than fat so also monitoring your pets body shape is important; Looking from above they should ideally have their chest taper into a small waist and their ribs should just be palpable under the skin but not visible, they should not look like a barrel!

Bear in mind that cats may be very difficult to manage as they can be very picky eaters and if you’re not feeding what they want they often go and visit the neighbour! Overall however, the effort is worthwhile to add quality to your animal’s quality of life.