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Overweight Dogs and Cats a Concern

As the weather starts to cool down, animals are no different to people - everything tends to slow down. The increasing chill of the outside air inevitably leads to decreased physical activity and we and our pets experience a reduced metabolism. If food consumption increases during this time it could contribute to weight gain.

Studies have shown that up to 33 per cent of the nation's cats and 41 per cent of dogs are overweight.

You might think that a couple of extra pounds on your pup isn't such a big deal, but you'd be wrong. Pets are a lot smaller than we are. Only a few extra pounds on a dog or a cat can cause problems. An extra five pounds on a dog that should weigh 15 pounds is similar to an extra 55 pounds on a person who should weigh 160 pounds. Overweight pets will run into trouble as they get older. Overweight pets have a shorter life span and poorer quality of life. Not only do they have difficulty getting around, but obesity in pets is associated with heart and respiratory problems, diabetes, skeletal stress, arthritis and gastrointestinal disorders in pets.

If you are concerned that maybe your furry friend has joined the scores of overweight pets then a quick feel for their ribs should give you the answer. If you have trouble feeling their ribs then they could be overweight. If you can't feel their ribs at all then that means they are obese, and if you can feel their ribs but not see them, then that's the perfect weight.

Some breeds of dogs are more prone to weight gain than others and fall sometimes can be the time when it starts. Arthritis as well as other medical conditions can play a part in weight gain issues. When animals move around less because they are sore, they can quickly put on weight.

Just like humans our pets need regular exercise and should avoid snacking between meals. So no matter how cute those puppy dog eyes are or how loud the whimpering gets, our leftovers should never be just handed out.

So get out your dogs out walking, chasing sticks and running up hills. Cats can chase balls of paper or wool, or shine a light from a torch and let them chase the spot of light around. The health benefits will be tremendous, both for your pets and you!

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