Maintain a healthy weight for your pet
You may think twice about having an irregular feeding pattern or not keeping your pet active, but being overweight can pose health risks for your pet.
Mr Sunny Chong, a professional animal trainer who owns his own training school said: “Animal obesity can cause or worsen musculoskeletal and cardiovascular problems, as well as glucose tolerance imbalances. It may also weaken the animal’s immune system”.
Causes of weight gain in animals.
Just like how humans have to try to lead a balanced lifestyle, so should your pet. Factors like food, exercise, stress, or even hormones changes, can cause your pet to gain weight.
Mr Chong said: “Feeding too often, or overly generous portions and snacks to your pet between meals may cause your pet to gain weight. Some pet owners leave a big bowl of food for their pet to compensate for the time they are not at home.”
Feeding your pet leftover human food can also make your pet gain weight. Feeding your pet food it should not be consuming could introduce a higher level of protein and fat that it actually needs.
Not getting enough exercise can also cause your pet to put on weight.
Mr Chong added: “Spaying can also sometimes affect your pet’s metabolism. This may not affect all animals, and depends on factors like your pet’s age.”
Signs of unhealthy weight.
One way you can check if your pet is overweight is to monitor its breathing. After running for a short while, does your pet get tired easily?
“Frequent heavy breathing and excessive panting with heavy salivating may suggest your pet is overweight,” said Mr Chong.
You should also touch your pet’s chest to try to feel their ribs. If you can easily feel them and the spaces in between just below the layer of fat, your pet may be of a healthy weight. You should not have to apply too much pressure to feel the ribs.
Feeding the right amount.
When selecting food for your pet, look out for nutrients like L-Carnitine, high fibre and antioxidants. These help to convert fats into energy, control hunger, and boost the immune system.
“In every pack of dry food, there is a recommended feeding table that suggests the correct feeding portion, measured in grams per meal. Follow the recommended portion as closely as possible and make appropriate adjustments by increasing or decreasing the amount, depending on how active your pet is,” said Mr Chong.
Getting enough exercise.
Having a good consistent exercise routine is one of the best ways to keep your pet healthy. It is also a great way to bond with your pet.
Mr Chong said: “Take your pet for a 30minute walk twice daily, or jog or run with it two or three times a week. You can also bring it to an animal swimming pool. Some animal training schools even offer weight-loss programmes.”
The above write out was also published on the Sunday Times on the 10/7/2016 for your reference.
by Sunny Chong (Prof Dog Trainer)