Obesity is on the rise in much of the developed world. Currently one out of three dogs in the U.S. are overweight. While overweight and obese cats outnumber cats of normal weight. The risk of developing a degenerative disease increases dramatically in overweight pets. Not only does being overweight decrease quality of life, it also shortens life span.
It is well-known that any animal will gain weight if it consumes more calories than it burns for energy. In the wild our pets would have had to exert a lot of energy to catch their dinner. Burning lots of calories to consume more calories. These days our pets lay around the house and wait for us to fill up their bowls. For the most part, our pets aren’t as active as their ancestors would have had to be.
Another thing differentiating modern pets from their ancestors is the quality of their food. Our pets’ ancestors ate whole prey, sometimes scavenging for grasses and seeds. This diet would have been high in protein and quality fats, and almost void of carbs. The diet of the average household pet is much higher in carbs, contains average amounts of proteins, and few fats of poor-quality.
Fat is the preferred energy source for dogs and cats, but when there are fewer fats in the diet the body uses carbohydrates instead. The body will have to store twice as many carbs to make up the same amount of energy as stored fats. This causes pets to gain weight faster. The rise in obesity in pets has much to do with the rise in carb-rich ingredients in pet foods, not the fat content.
There are major health risks associated with being overweight. Your pet has a higher chance of developing:
It can be difficult to manage your pet’s weight. As with humans, having a weight loss buddy can make things easier. If you are trying to get into shape too try to think of some exercises that you can do with your pet. Daily walks or adventures with your dog, or a game of chase with your cat is fun for both of you. When exercising with your pet is fun it will be something that you both want to do more regularly. Adding Dr. Maggie Skin & Coat to your pet’s meal provides them with healthy fats that keep them full and plenty of energy to keep up with their exercise!