Who doesn’t love the sight of an adorable, oversized cat or dog? While it’s true that our furry friends on the chubbier side can be extremely cute, the fact of the matter is that overfeeding them and not helping them exercise can have serious and dangerous effects on your pets.
How can pets get overfed?
If you’re a pet owner, you must be aware of how difficult it is to stop pampering your furry friend sometimes. After all, it is so difficult to say no when that adorable face is begging you to share some of your food with them, but at the end of the day, pet owners need to be strong in this regard.
Sometimes, pet owners who aren’t very well acquainted with their pet’s behaviors (such as someone who recently adopted a cat) and may be overly concerned with their eating habits. This may lead to giving constant treats, a habit which can become dangerous if continued constantly or giving more of their food than they need. Some animal breeds are also at a greater risk of becoming obese, and so must be given a carefully curated diet.
For example, after neutering or spaying, most pets have reduced nutritional needs. It is important for pet owners to be aware of this so they can make sure they aren’t giving their beloved pets more calories than they need! In some cases, pets can be overfed as a form of neglect. If you have recently adopted a cat or dog, you may find them to be overweight and unable to take care of themselves. In this case, they will require proper treatment.
The harms of overfeeding your pets
You must be wondering, why is giving your pet all the food it wants a bad thing? Well, the act of overfeeding has the biggest disadvantage of casing pets like cats and dogs to become overweight or obese. Not only is that a problem in itself, but obesity can also cause your pet to be at risk for a number of other medical conditions and diseases.
This becomes a problem especially for indoor animals, which also lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle – more food, less exercise. These animals are at a greater risk of developing:
- Problems with their joints, due to the excess weight, which can lead to the development of Arthritis in their joints.
- Development of diseases such as Diabetes.
- Because of the added weight, the animal may also contract respiratory and skin infections and diseases.
- In addition to this, the animal may face a loss of appetite paired with some gastrointestinal issues.
- In cats, the act of overfeeding can also damage their liver.
- Finally, overweight animals tend to have an overall lower lifespan.
Although indoor animals like cats like to sleep in and laze around, even they take part in some degree of activity throughout the day. This helps them stay alert, sharp, and is overall good for their health. When an animal is overfed and is obese, it finds it much more difficult to jump around, play, and take part in the exercise it would normally love.
This laziness may even translate into some of the other habits of your animal. Especially for cats, who love grooming, this can become an issue. An overweight cat usually feels lethargic and doesn’t want to groom itself as often as a healthy cat does – and so the cat’s hygiene will also suffer, along with its health.
Although how much the animal’s food costs won’t really be of much consequence to it, it will definitely affect you. All the extra money you spend per month on the additional food could be used somewhere else. After all, wouldn’t your furry friend be happier with a brand new bed or a toy to play with?
This doesn’t even take into account the numerous visits to the vet that you will have to eventually make. If your pet gets overweight or is overfed, he or she will be at risk for diseases and will need constant attention from you and a trained vet.
Problems in fish
In fish, overeating can be very dangerous and can be detrimental to the fish’s health. Adding more food to the aquarium can cause changes in the pH and promote the growth of algae in the water. This may harm your fish and slowly deteriorate your pet’s health.
As a pet owner, there are some important things that you can consider in order to avoid overfeeding your pets.
The first and most important tool at your disposal, which you can access easily when it comes to pets is the information you have on your pet’s food bag. The nutritional and other information on the bag will be vital to help you determine how much food the animal should be getting on a daily basis.
Consult with a professional
Making decisions about what is or isn’t right for your pet can be daunting, and you may not be equipped to make the right choice for your furry friend. In this situation, you need to consult with a professional who is trained to meet the nutritional needs of your pet. If you have any queries, a vet is the right person to go to and ask the difficult questions.
Dealing with overfeeding
It is important to be careful when dealing with an overfed (especially an obese) animal as you have to keep some considerations in mind. For example, just reducing the total amount of food your pet eats may cause them to become deficient in certain vital nutrients.
If you’ve overfed your pet, or have recently adopted an animal who was previously overfed, you can take care of him or her and do one or more of the following:
- Exercise: with a proper regimen of exercise, you can make sure that your furry friend loses the extra kilograms they’ve gained through overfeeding.
- Play at home: While a lot of pet owners express love by sharing food and treats, another great way is playtime and exercise. For pets, this can mean more walks, games, and even new toys. Depending on your pet and tendencies, you can plan fun activities to help them stay active and playful.
- No scraps: a tendency amongst pet owners is to share scraps from their own food with pets. Although this food may be safe, because of it’s different nutritional content, these scraps can make the problem worse.
- Keep checks: Once you’re talking to your vet, they will probably place your pet in a body range. You will need to work with the vet and constantly check and monitor your pet’s progress so they can come back to the ideal point.
- Nutritional diet: with the help of your vet, you can establish a proper diet for your pet which will help them stay in the ideal body weight range.
With animals, it can become tricky when you find it difficult to refuse them treats or food. However, it is vital for you to keep in mind that maintaining a strict diet can help you keep your pet safe, healthy, and overall improve the quality and the expected span of their life.