October 12 is a reminder to keep your pets slim and trim.
Pet obesity is on the rise along with child obesity. But National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on October 12 is a reminder to pet guardians to rear healthy dogs, cats, guinea pigs, horses, and more. After all, a healthy pet is a happy pet.
Obesity is not only a weight-bearing issue for pets. It can lead to secondary complications like pet diabetes, malnourishment, and arthritis. Founder can also occur in equines when they're overweight.
Just like humans, staying fit means maintaining a balance of nutrition and exercise. Opting for one over the other will not eradicate obesity alone.
But nutrition doesn't have to mean putting your pet on a diet in the traditional sense--although many pets are overfed and could benefit from getting their serving size reduced. The type of food is just as important as the amount of food.
Some owners are choosing to invest in home-cooked meals over commercial diets. Others search for grain-free kibble or raw pet food. Seeking the advice of a veterinarian before any big diet change is important to make sure your pet doesn't get an upset stomach--which can happen even when switching to a healthier choice.
National Walk Your Dog Week happened earlier in the month and it was a reminder for humans to take their pooches for daily strolls. But it's not just dogs that need exercise. Horses, pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep need room to roam. Rodents, reptiles, and indoor cats benefit from outside time, on a leash if necessary.
If weather or behavior prevents you from taking an animal outside, make sure to exercise the pet with creative games inside, such as chasing laser pointers, obstacle courses, and playtime with humans and other household pets.
Many owners are not even aware that their pet is obese. Take the quiz to find out if your pet is due to lose a few pounds.