Obesity is one of the top health risks to our pets. Given that animals are quite a bit smaller than humans, weighing even a few pounds more than is recommended for their size can have a detrimental effect on their health. Thankfully, it’s also fairly easy for pet owners to circumvent.
Health Risks Associated with Obesity
- Difficulty breathing
- High blood pressure
- Resistance to insulin
- Liver disease
- Compromised immune system
Beyond the above, obesity can also increase the risk of adverse reactions to anesthesia during surgery, of developing malignant, cancerous tumors, an intolerance to heat; and lead to decreased stamina, most likely caused by an inability to exercise due to excessive weight.
Common Causes of Obesity
- Overfeeding, whether through unmeasured feeding, free feeding, or food stealing
- A diet consisting of high-calorie foods, treats, and table scraps
- Emotional eating, whether by showing your love by giving extra food or using food treats as a reward
- A lack of adequate exercise
- Genetics, such as the tendency of some breeds to be overweight or gene mutations
A lack of awareness can also cause obesity. The rising percentage of humans who are obese means that pet parents don’t always notice excessive weight gain in their pets. Therefore, efforts to implement portion control and help animals reduce their weight may be delayed or never put into place. In addition, once the awareness has been made, it may be difficult for pet owners to follow through, especially in a house with multiple pets or if it requires a complicated maintenance program.
How to Control and Prevent Obesity
- Annual pet wellness exams
- Maintain a consistent diet
- Establish a regular and fun exercise routine
Annual visits with the veterinarian will help give you an idea of where your pets weight should be for them to remain healthy. It will also provide your vet with a chance to catch any issues before they become larger problems. Pet insurance can be an integral part of early intervention when it comes to your pet’s health. Enrolling them early can help offset some of the costs of annual exams and help minimize the chance of conditions not being covered due to being pre-existing.
Portion control is an important part of any obesity prevention protocol. Avoiding table scraps, regulating the number of food treats given, and replacing treats with interactive activities like play time or additional petting time will go a long way to preventing obesity.
With a little forethought and planning, you can help your pet maintain a healthy weight from the moment you bring them home. With early intervention, you can nip any problems in the bud, before they lead to more serious issues. Maintaining a healthy weight in animals is just as important as it is in humans.
Pet insurance offered and administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC is underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company (APIC) or Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC). Please see www.americanpetinsurance.com to review all available pet health insurance products underwritten by APIC. IAIC is a member of The IHC Group, an organization of insurance carriers and marketing and administrative affiliates, please see www.ihcgroup.com for additional information. Please refer to your declarations page to determine the underwriter for your policy. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products.