Some disturbing news emerged from the US in the past few years. The leading cause of malnutrition among pets there is obesity. That’s right. Even though they’re overeating, American pets are malnourished.
It’s a two-for-one tragedy, and it mirrors what’s happening to pet owners. They’re also wolfing down too many calories, and getting too little beneficial nutrition, while simultaneously wrecking their health.
And don’t imagine Britain is off the hook. According to the British Veterinary Association, 60% of UK vets say pet obesity and overfeeding are a “top concern”.
Experts cite several commonsense factors at play. For instance; pet owners insist on feeding too many treats, they hand out too much human food, and they provide too little exercise for their pets. Some owners simply don’t understand the correct amounts or types of foods to provide so their pets will get the calories and nutrition they need without overindulging. Others know better, but continue to “spoil” their beloved pets.
Don’t Cut Your Pet’s Live Short
While the urge to spoil our “fur babies” is understandable, it’s also highly counterproductive. If you pamper your pet out of love, it only makes sense to take steps to ensure your pet stays healthy, so he or she can live as long, and comfortably, as possible. The sad truth is that pets’ lifespans are already much shorter than our own. Smaller breeds tend to live longer than large ones, so expected lifespan may be something to consider the next time you’re thinking of introducing a new member to the family.
But pets’ lifespans can also vary greatly depending on the care they receive by your hand. If that hand is always doling out calorie-laden treats, you may be contributing to the early demise of your pet’s health. Obese pets—like obese humans—face various serious health challenges related directly to their obesity. In a very real sense, when you feed too many treats to your animals—or overfeed, or offer human treats, such as biscuits—you’re essentially killing them with kindness.
Among other ailments, overfeeding or incorrect feeding can lead to diabetes, heart disease, breathing difficulties, arthritis, and other life-threatening illnesses. Of course, when it comes to body weight, many humans push back and insist excess weight is nothing to be ashamed of; more of a matter of looks than health.
But that ignores the evidence. Healthy pets, like healthy pet owners, fare best when they maintain a “normal” weight. Otherwise, inflammation in the body becomes more or less chronic, and the heart and joints must work extra hard to support the excess weight. There’s a reason you never see obese animals in the wild. There’s even evidence to suggest that an occasional bout of fasting benefits virtually any animal—humans included.
We’re not suggesting you starve your pet on occasion. Rather, listen carefully to your vet’s advice regarding feeding, and follow his or her instructions closely—as if your pet’s life depended upon it. Because, in a very real sense, it does. Remember, overfeeding is not showing love; it’s abuse. Goodness knows, not every pet can be trusted to eat only what he needs, leaving any excess behind.
That’s a concept that is surely foreign to the average Corgi, for instance. They’re happy to eat themselves to death if given half a chance.
No. As the owner, it’s up to you to allocate the right food, in the right amounts, at the right times. If you'd like to discuss your pet's diet or weight then please call us to arrange an appointment at our nurse clinics. This complimentary service will help you to ensure your pet gets the right food and maintains the right weight. One of the most important keys to health and wellbeing we know of.