Our 13-year-old cat Bailey has a pooch – and I don’t mean a dog friend. Weighing in at nearly 15 pounds, our aging feline is chubby; in other words, she is obese.
Like many humans, pets can pack on the pounds as they age. And that extra weight can cause health problems.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, nearly 60 percent of pets in the United States are overweight or obese, a statistic that hasn’t changed much in the past few years.
According to veterinarians and other pet experts, there are several causes of obesity in pets. Those include:
Being cognizant of your pet’s weight will ultimately help manage health problems, such as diabetes, cardiac disease, and arthritis, among others. Sometimes pet parents have to put their furry family members on a diet; oftentimes, adding extra exercise can help; and many times, cutting down on the number of treats produces healthy weight. Perhaps a mixture of all three.
Talk with your veterinarian about how to slim down your overweight pet – or about how to keep him/her leaner and healthier before s/he becomes obese.
For further guidance on managing a pet’s weight, visit these websites:
For many people, January brings thoughts of better health – new year, new you. We can also resolve to get (or keep) our pets healthier, even if we haven’t started yet. One of the easiest ways for people, and pets, to become (or stay) healthier is by walking.
January is Walk Your Pet Month. Here are five good reasons to walk your pet:
If your dog is one of those that doesn’t walk well on a leash, and therefore, you avoid walks with your canine friend, there are many avenues you can take to train him/her. One includes visiting PetCo or PetSmart and enrolling in a training program offered at the store or enrolling in a class offered by your local Kennel Club chapter. Another is to hire a trainer. Or, you can do it yourself by reviewing instructions on sites like YouTube. There are also many great articles online about training your dog, including ones by Cesar Milan and the American Kennel Club, which you’ll find below:
Dogs aren’t the only pets that can be trained to walk on a leash – ferrets can as well and so can cats. Both my mother and I have had cats that were leash-trained, and when I visited and volunteered at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah, I took one cat for a walk on a leash and took another for a stroll in a baby buggy. Walking on a harness and leash allows kitties to explore the outdoors and breath fresh air safely. Learn how to train your cat to walk well on a leash by visiting this Best Friends’ site: https://bestfriends.org/resources/walking-cat.
Even though winter is upon us, walking with your pet outdoors can still be done. See the infographic below, created by NorthStar VETS of New Jersey, on how to walk safely outdoors with your pet during the cold and snowy months.
Keep your New Year’s resolution to get and stay healthy – and resolve to keep your pet healthy, too, – by sharing quality walks with your furry friend.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.