Pet Obesity: Killing Our Canines With Kindness

by Sloan McKinney

 

As a rescue organization, we see so many sad and unfortunate cases of animal cruelty, often from neglect, malnutrition and many other forms of avoidance. But sometimes the best of intentions lead to other forms of health problems when it comes to overfeeding or not exercising our pets properly once they find their loving forever home.

 

Recent statistics from the professionals at APOP (The Association For Pet Obesity) show cats are crossing a level of almost 60% of them being either overweight or obese. While their canine counterparts come in just under 55% of this predicament, regardless of their breed, size, age or stature, it puts all of these pets at risk for health problems or an untimely, premature death. Sadly, these numbers are on the rise from previous figures from just a few short years ago.

 

There’s always more exercise and activity, but let’s look at some simply, yet strategic ways we can ensure our pets stay are at their optimal weight in order to remain happy and healthy:

 

Close The Buffet

 

We may have learned this type of behavior from our parents (or even grandparents) when we were told to eat everything on our plate, even if we were full. This translated into simply filling up the dog (or cat) dish and let them eat as much as they please. But this type of open buffet isn’t healthy for them.

 

Pets should be given portions according to their age, current weight, activity levels, etc. If you have questions about the amount of food and treats you should be giving your your dog daily, please consult your veterinarian for more information.

 

Human Food

 

Not too long ago, we were told that dogs shouldn’t have any kind of human food whatsoever, especially table scraps. Although leftovers shouldn’t be a part of our dog’s diet, there’s still plenty of foods like fruits and vegetables that are a healthy alternative to mass produced pet foods. But some of these choices are to be avoided, while others are encouraged.

 

For a comprehensive list of those foods to give our pets that those that should be avoided, see this list from the AKC for more information. And speaking of healthier food alternatives, many pet owners are supplementing their pet’s diet with things like boiled poultry, ham, rice and other grains. But remember these should be devoid of salt, spices, other unhealthy additives and should be given instead of their regular food and not in addition to these meals.

 

 

Tasty Treats

 

Previous headlines have revealed horrific details about treats and chew toys made overseas (and now some made in the USA) that have been linked to thousands of illnesses and death of our beloved dogs. We could keep our eyes on checklists and news posts or simply make toys and treats ourselves. Google the many possibilities available online to ensure your dog’s health and longevity aren’t threatened by something as simple as a treat or toy.

 

In closing, portly pets are a growing problem, but as animal lovers we must all take a stand in order to keep their weight in check when it comes to daily feeding, diet and exercise. Consult with your veterinarian if you’re in doubt, but definitely check it out to make sure your four-legged best friend will be around for a long time to come.