By now you’ve probably heard enough about obesity in adults and children to see that we need to make changes in our approach to how we live if we’re going to be able to enjoy our lives fully. Well, said to say, our pets are also falling under the spell of too many calories in and too few calories out.
Studies from 2007 through 2011 have shown a steady increase in overweight pets with some studies citing obesity levels in pets as high as 57% for cats and 44% for dogs. Considering that we’re talking about domesticated animals it’s hard to ignore the obvious truth – we are overfeeding our animals for the level of activity they live with. In the case of cats this is a pretty straightforward fix – simply decreasing the amount of food or the availability of food will yield great results. A bit less obvious but an even better solution is, if possible, consider a raw food diet for your cat. Le’s face it, not too many cats are out there foraging for wheat, rice, or corn, regardless of how hungry they are! Dogs will fare far better on a more “conscious” diet as well, of course.
One of the biggest reasons why animals overeat is simple boredom. I think sometimes we forget that these are domesticated animals but only barely…they are hunters at their core. Pets need physical stimulation as well as mental stimulation; they need to run, jump, chase and be chased and this is especially true for dogs. Think about the last time you sat in a meeting or an airport or in a car for hours; now think about the last time you were out on a beautiful trail or on the beach or beside a lake – the smells of nature, the breeze against your skin, the exhilaration of being able to move freely and walk or run. Now which would you like to repeat again and again? Our pets are often stuck in situations that prevent them from enjoying their very nature and they’re looking to us for help.
One last thought – as a client of mine pointed out today, if your pup is overweight, odds are you (the owner) aren’t getting enough exercise!
NEXT UP: The joys of flyball, frisbees, parks, and recreation.