We love them so much, and only want the very best for them. We want to see our pets live the happiest, healthiest, and longest life possible.
Unfortunately we can sometimes be a little misguided……
We know how much our pets love their treats, and we use it to show love.
We give them an extra serving of dinner.
We bring them home a treat whenever we go out.
We share our lunch with them. That’s what friends do? Right?
I am all for showing love through food
But for me, this means giving the best possible nutrition I can afford. Making sure their diet is balanced and complete, and not feeding the foods that are bad for them.
I’m going to list some of the reasons why its important to keep your pet at an ideal weight range.
Sometimes love means saying no.
This can be hard to hear. But its true.
Sometimes the best way to express love, is to show you care by saying no, or refusing something you know is not good for them.
Even when they look at you with those eyes…..
1.Overweight pets have reduced mobility
When a pet is overweight they are no longer as agile. They get a bit of a waddle happening. This can be from reduced stride length and reduced joint extension from the extra pressures of all of that extra padding around their body.
They can have trouble getting on and off furniture, and even more importantly, they are at a much greater risk of injury in their joints and muscles, as they have greater pressures and forces acting on them.
Hold your hands together lightly in a prayer position, and move them up and down. They should glide nicely and you can feel how easy the movement is.
Now put extra force into it. press your hands together firmly and try to move them the same way.
Nowhere near as easy is it.
This is the kind of extra strain put on joints when the pressure of increased weight is added. This extra pressure doesn’t just make it harder to get around, it also means there is much higher risk of arthritis developing.
So coming from reduced mobility, joints taking more strain and pressure can be more prone to arthritic conditions. That increased friction can reduce the integrity of the joint capsules. This means it can start eroding the smooth layer of the joints the glide together as we move. Its like rubbing your knuckles together, instead of the palms of your hands. Its no longer smooth. It creates more heat, pain and inflammation in the joint and this will all cause further tissue damage.
Arthritis is no fun for anybody. Sometimes it happens even with our best preventative care. If there is arthritis already present, having extra weight can significantly increase the pain and inflammation felt.
This is a growing problems in humans and pets alike.
This is a problem that involves poor blood sugar control, and can lead to increased inflammation. In really severe cases, a daily insulin injection may be needed. When blood sugar control is not properly controlled, there is a lot of tissue damage that occurs from high circulating blood sugar levels. this can also cause more inflammation within the body, which can have major health consequences.
4.Heat balance and thermo-regulation
Thermoregulation is managing the internal body temperature in a consistent set point range. Its how we have a standard body temperature. Get too cold, and there are mechanisms in place to increase it. Get too hot, and again, we can cool down.
We sweat, and loose heat as the sweat evaporates off out skin.
Dogs and cats don’t loose heat like us humans. But to really simplify how they generally loose heat:
A cat will tend to lay around using conduction heat transfer. Laying on a cool spot will pull heat from their body.
A dog tends to pant and have saliva that evaporates .
An overweight pet has a good layer of fat, which acts as a very good heat insulator. Great through winter, but when summer rolls around, they can have a much harder time to reduce their body temperature. Couple this with increased visceral fat around their organs, and they can have more trouble breathing, and in turn panting.
An overweight pet is going to have a much more uncomfortable time over summer.
5.Shorter Life Expectancy
This is the part no one wants to talk about. But the sad truth is, the more overweight a pet is, the shorter their life expectancy.
When a body is under continual stress, such as obesity, they have an increased level of oxidative damage occurring. Oxidative damage is a big part of the ageing process. When cells are constantly damaged, tissue is going to have a higher turn over rate of cells. This increase in cell turn over reduces the length of the telomeres, which is what causes the ageing.
Reducing their weight to a normal weight, can really help to reduce this level of oxidative damage.
Being overweight also increases the risks of many chronic disease that reduce the life expectancy through reducing oxidative stress, and insulin sensitivity.
We all love our pets.
We all love our pets, and want them to be in our lives for as long as possible.
Being overweight can really reduce their quality, and quantity of life. The best thing we can do is to make sure they are getting optimum nutrition that nourishes their needs, but also keeps them lean and healthy.
Do you want to learn more about weight loss in pets? I will be running a free webinar in September. Click on the link below to learn more.
The Furry Obesity Crisis-How being overweight affects your pet, and what you can do about it