From Flabb to Fit – Help your Fur Babies Live Healthier – Obesity

By: Ellie Bates

Over the last 10 years Obesity has been brought to the attention of many health organisations around the world as one of the modern ages biggest health problems.

Not only is there a worry for our human health with over 25% of adults and 1 in 5 children classed as overweight or obese (PFMA, 2019), but this has had a possible knock on effect with over half of our beloved dogs and cats are also overweight or obese (PFMA, 2019).

It has been proven that Obesity in our fur babies can lead to or worsen a long list of medical conditions. These include: Orthopaedic disease, Diabetes mellitus, Pancreatitis and some Cancers.

It is so important for your fur babies that we are knowledgeable and responsible owners. They rely wholly on us to provide the correct diet and lifestyle. Understanding their ideal weight requirements will help them live a long and happy life.

“Feed the Love, Lose the Weight”

This current campaign by food manufactures, Hills, has been developed to raise awareness of the negative effects of too many treats, and is placing greater emphasis on helping owners take control of their animal’s nutrition and address the poor feeding habits among many owners, heightened by the pandemic. There video below shows how our general lifestyle can affect our fur babies health negatively and small changes can get your fur baby back to a healthy weight.

What can you do?

 

We have put together 7 tips of things you can easily do, most of the changes are simple and easy.

  1. Check with your vet
  2. Learn to take their measurements
  3. Keep moving
  4. Choose treats wisely
  5. Weigh each food portion
  6. Understanding feeding guides
  7. Finding the most suitable food

Check with your vet

If you notice any sudden weight gain or weight loss we would recommend having a vet appointment to see if there is any major reason for this. As your regular vet we keep a record of every weigh in and can provide a record of each weight recorded compared to the last. We will also be able to recommend your fur babies ideal weight.

We also offer free Nurse appointments where our trained Veterinary nurses will be able to discuss your pets body condition and give you plenty of tips. 

Learn to take their measurements

Although we use weights as a great tool it an be difficult to accurately weigh your fur baby from home. We also use physical body measurements to aid in monitoring your fur babies weight and general health. This is something everyone can do at home regularly with a flexible measuring tape and somewhere to note them down. You can do this anytime at home, but keeping a record and measuring monthly will give you the best idea of how well your efforts are working giving plenty of room for further changes. 

Where to measure:

  • Neck – where a collar would sit
  • Chest – just behind their armpits and around their body
  • Waist – where they naturally go in, where the ribs end.

Keep moving!

Our habits effect their lifestyles. Consider increasing activity time with your fur baby.

There are a few easy ways you can do this:

  • Longer walks (even an extra 5-10mins a day adds up)
  • Training – Agility training is great for their body and mind!
  • Walking on a harness outside with your cat
  • Play dates with friends
  • Toys to increase activity such as food dispenser balls and large cat wands.

Choose treats wisely

Giving treats can be a fun part of your fur babies routine, but when they are given remember to keep track on the amounts so you can reduce their normal food that day. This adjustment will prevent any excess calories leading to obesity. 

98% vets think excessive treating contribute most to obesity (PFMA, 2019), try replacing some of your fur babies treats with low fat alternatives such as pet safe fruit and veg or 100% meat treats! You can also use their daily food as treats for treat balls and kongs.

Weigh each food portion

We recommend that all portions should be weighed on kitchen scales as there is a large margin of error with the standard measuring cups (even if provided by the manufacturer). This is normally due to the shape of the kibble which can sit unevenly in the cup each time.

All feeding guides (normally on the pack of any food packets) have a guide in Grams allowing you to tailor your fur babies food daily allowance accurately.

Understanding feeding guides

56% of vets commented that pet food packaging guidelines were unsuitable (PFMA, 2019) and on top of that 30% of pet owners admit they have never read the packaging on their pet’s food (PFMA, 2019)!

All pre-prepared foods will have their own guidelines on daily feeding amounts. These are normally based on the ideal weight of your fur baby (not their current weight). The problem with these guidelines is that they are just a guide and are not based on each individual animal. Because of this the guide should be a starting point and adjusted accordingly for every fur baby until your pet maintains their ideal weight. 

Finding the most suitable food

There are thousands of different food brands and types out there and sometimes it seems like a mind field to choose the right one for your fur baby. 

There are some main factors which will help your choose the correct food:

  • Age
  • Breed
  • Health
  • Neutered vs Entire
  • Activity Level

You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook where we are currently sharing lots of tips about getting and keeping your fur babies at a healthy weight. For further information on this topic and articles mentions visit here for the PFMA obesity report and here for the Hills Campaign.

Remember if you ever need any help or advice regarding your fur babies health and/or obesity please contact us here or alternatively you can Facebook or Email us anytime!