Sitting patiently by your side, your dog nuzzles your thigh and scooches closer to the kitchen table. His sniffing gets frantic as if he is trying to create a vacuum to suck up your evening dinner. You say “no” in a firm voice, but he can’t resist the smells coming from your dish so a bark escapes from his mouth, which ends in a whine. He looks up at you with those pleading eyes-how can you resist? Just a crumb of bread and taste of hamburger won’t hurt, right? But over time that crumb and taste turns into an entire portion or maybe even a double portion. Before you know it, your dog or cat is too heavy and tired to move and its face is hidden in the rolls bulging from its neck.
Maybe you think you have more self-control than that, but approximately 500,000 pets have become obese, and there has been a 10% increase since the previous year. Although you and your pet receive immediate satisfaction from extra treats, the long-term affects can be lethal to your pet’s well being. Obese pets often suffer from respiratory problems such as asthma as well as other ailments like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, liver problems, etc.
Preventing your pet from becoming obese is simple as long as you are consistent. First, stop feeding your pet table scraps. This is probably where the problem started, so you have to change you and your pet’s behavior. If your pet will not eat its food while you are eating your food, place the pet in another room or put it in its crate. Second, visit your veterinarian and find out the appropriate amount of food your pet should be getting on a daily basis. Your veterinarian might want to reduce your pet’s consumption until it has lost some weight. Third, limit the amount of treats you give your pet. Replace treat giving with daily walks or buy them a new toy so you can play fetch or tug of war with them.
The hardest part is realizing that food does not equal love. Although your pet will whine and do everything it can to make you toss a scrap of food, you have to remember what is best for your pet’s health. Nutrition is important, but a balance must be achieved.
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