FOUR PAWS advises on diet and exercises to help avoid obesity in pets
Cape Town, 20.01.2017 – Obesity is a serious condition, not only in humans but also in animals. The negative impact of obesity on the health of an animal reduces both the quality and duration of its life.
Experts estimate that approximately 50% of companion animals kept in Western countries are overweight. The main factor is an inappropriate diet given to pets by their owners. Pets often consume significantly more calories than they expend, due to pet owners often being unaware of the highly-calorific nature of some pet foods.
Sarah Ross, lead expert for the FOUR PAWS Companion Animals Programme explained: "Dry food contains nutrients in concentrated form. A small portion is usually sufficient for a dog or a cat, often portion sizes can lead to an animal becoming obese, particularly if it does not receive sufficient exercise.”
According to the charity, it is also important to consider the cumulative effect of “treats”, as these may provide a significant source of calories in their own right, which can lead to an animal becoming overweight.
Other important factors leading to obesity include a lack of physical exercise, a lack of agility in older animals and/or a genetic pre-disposition towards obesity in certain breeds. If an owner can’t feel ribs under the layer of fat or is unable to see the waist of their pet then it is imperative that action is taken, as it is likely the animal is overweight, which could cause numerous negative health effects, such as shortness of breath, joint and cardiovascular problems and even diabetes.
To help owners avoid this scenario, FOUR PAWS has issued 5 easy measures that can be undertaken to keep a healthy pet:
- make sensible adjustments to the pet’s diet after consultation with your vet.
- ask your vet to advise you on an optimal exercise level for your pet. It is important to implement a gradual progression of the length and intensity of exercise.
- walk your dog more often.
- provide your cat with suitable toys that will motivate it to expend more energy.
- play active games with your pet.
Obesity is a problem, but it is not insurmountable, and, with the correct diet and exercise regime, pets can live long and active lives.
Fiona Miles - Country Director
FOUR PAWS South Africa
Telephone: +27 (0)21 702 4277
Mobile: +27 (0)83 408 0463