Obesity in dogs and cats is much more usual than it seems, its a problem in close connection with food habits and owner’s sedentary lifestyle. Overweight and obesity cause other health problems, reducing pet’s longevity — as it happens with human beings. Obesity is related to high food consuption and low phisical activity (discarding endocrinal problems).
Renato Zanetti, specialist at pet’s well-being, shows truth and miths about pets’ obesity:
- Obesity can cause other health problems to pet.
TRUE. Obese dogs and cats have more risk to other health problems: diabetes, lung and heart diseases, artirculation, skin and reprodution problems, exercice intolerance, higher caloric stress, higher risk in anesthesias.
- Castration makes pets fatter
TRUE. Castrated animals have twice a chance of becoming obese because of hormonal changes and reduction of physical activity. BUT this is not a motive for not castrating; you can reduce the problem with higher phisical activity and food control.
- Obesity is caused ONLY by food excess.
MITH. There are two causes for obesity: metabolical (it has a lower incidence, about 5% of cases) and behavioral (higher incidence).
Metabolical causes: endocrinal problems ( disfunction of thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, hypophisis or hypothalamus.
Behavorial causes: giving too much food to pet; small phisical space; sedentarism; bad food habits.
- Phisical activity helps do reduce wieght
TRUE. Increase caloric expenditure colaborates with weight reduction IF associated with food reeducation. Just like it is with human beings.
- Dogs eat because they are “greedy”
TRUE. Hunger (physiological need caused by nutritional déficit) is different from appetite (desire to eat). Dogs can eat a higher quantity of food than he needs in one meal. As they don’t know when they will eat again, dogs are always ready to eat.
- There is an ideal weight for each race (dogs and cats)
TRUE. Even with a variation from one pet to other, there is a pattern for each race that can be a reference to check if pet is fat.
- Some foods are forbidden to dogs and cats.
TRUE. Some foods are only toxic for dogs and cats, others are forbidden and can kill if eaten in great amount.
- I can give fruits and vegetables to dogs and cats.
TRUE. Yes, fruits and vegetables that are not considered toxic or forbidden can be given to dogs and cats.