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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Are you killing your pets by overfeeding them?

So, how can you as an owner find out if your pet is obese?

Written by Vidhi Malla | New Delhi |
June 10, 2015 1:58:01 pm
Fatness in pets has reached an epidemic level (Source: Thinkstock Images) Fatness in pets has reached an epidemic level (Source: Thinkstock Images)

My mother-in-law loves my dog Theo and she showers him with love, praise and a thick chapatti with fresh cream every morning. Being associated with the animal rescue industry, I know this love borders around animal abuse because my mom is actually killing my dog without knowing it.

Fatness in pets has reached an epidemic level and people do not realise that by over-feeding their beloved pet they are actually cutting short their pet’s lifespan. Take a stroll around the park and you will see bulky Labradors refusing to walk with their owners or smaller breeds like Pugs panting in one corner after a short walk. And God forbid if these canine children are made to climb-up the stairs.

I have a friend whose pug refuses to take the stairs to their second story apartment. He just sits at the bottom of the staircase staring at his owners who either take him by lift or just pick him up and climb the stairs. Ask any vet and they will tell you that most pets in the cities are not leading a healthy life no matter how nutritious is the food we give them. There is a simple correlation between energy intake and outtake which we humans are messing up in our pets too.

So, how can you as an owner find out if your pet is obese and why obesity is an issue in animals? Before we proceed, do note that obesity is unnatural and you will rarely find obese animals in the wild. Obesity takes place when the body has too much energy and it decides to save some fat for the rainy days. Being obese has major medical disadvantages and overweight pets may suffer from some or all of these issue:

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* Risk of developing chest conditions

* No or low exercise tolerance: Symptoms include coughing more than usual during or after exercise or a few hours before bedtime. Dogs who are over-weight also get tired easily

* Cardiac problems: Cardiac issues can cause fainting because of blocked blood flow to the brain

* Joint pains and issues with spine and limbs: Excess weight causes the body to put pressure on the bones and joints of the dog that can lead to joint pain

* High risk of developing arthritis, rheumatism and back problems

* More prone to diseases like diabetes and other urinary problems

* Breathing issues: Dogs have a hard time breathing or exercising

Certain groups of dogs are more prone to obesity than others. Specific breeds of canines like pugs and Labrador retrieves are particularly prone. Also, almost all neutered dogs have a tendency to gain weight.

The best way to find out if your dog is obese is to look for waistline. If there is no waistline visible and you cannot feel their ribs under a thick layer of fat, then there is an issue. Heavy fat deposits appear along the spine and at the base of the tail, the waist and abdominal tuck all but disappear, and their tummy bulges outwards and may sag downwards. If your pet is obese, consult your vet immediately and get your pet check for underlying medical issues.

P.S – We have stopped feeding Theo chapatti and fresh cream and substituted it with curd and dry food.

Good luck toning down!

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