MANY South African households consider their pets not merely as an animal, but a true part of the family. But with love invariably comes overfeeding as it seems that humans equate love with food, especially too much of it.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and pet nutritionists for leading food brands in South Africa (SA), almost 50% of all pets in the country are overweight or obese. Veterinarians and pet nutritionists agree that even as little as an extra kilogram of weight on a pet could have long-term health implications.
But not only South Africans are guilty of overfeeding their pets, WHO maintains that it is a global problem.
Overweight pets have shorter lifespans and could suffer from cancer, skin and urinary problems, arthritis and diabetes. Apart from sleeping more than usual, these pets could also end up having difficulty breathing and walking.
Veterinarians say that most pet owners are shocked and even angry when told that their pampered pet is overweight. But, science had proved that just as in humans, obesity ultimately leads to unhappy pets.
*October is Pet Obesity Month ( 4 October) and pet owners should consider using the opportunity to book a weight assessment at a participating Pet Slimmer veterinary practice for an evaluation of their pet’s overall condition, but especially their weight. Also speak to a knowledgeable pet food shop owner, who would advise owners free of charge and assist in selecting the proper food for their pets.
Some breeds are more prone to gain weight (once again, just as humans), as a result of underlying health problems. As pets age, they are not as active as they used to be and weight is gained over a period of time which makes it more difficult to spot.
No matter how hard it is, in order to have Brutus live a longer and healthier life with you as owner, consider the following:
- More walks (good for pet and owner) and
- Less table scraps and treats.
Just as with our two-legged children, discipline for their well-being is paramount to our fur kids. With pets being domesticated for decades, the modern sedentary lifestyle of owners also have an impact on the manner in which Fido’s health, weight and exercise regime are considered.
Nobody said slimming down your pet would be easy, but by taking steps now, it could save a lot of tears much too soon.
*Pet Obesity Month had been instituted in 2016 in an effort to contain another epidemic, overweight.