iStock_000071872941_Large.jpgThe weeks between Halloween and New Year’s Day are notorious for comfort food, rich treats, and small, delicious indulgences that add calories up pretty darn fast. While personal self-control is on sabbatical until January, it’s easy to apply the same rule-breaking to a pet, especially one with pleading eyes, a wagging tail, and repeated chop-licking. One tiny tidbit can’t do any harm, right? Just a small morsel of holiday goodness to share with your pet? We’re sorry to break the spell, but allowing or offering special holiday nibbles can cause or exacerbate pet obesity.

Scary Statistics

Our country’s obesity epidemic most certainly extends to our pets, as over 50% of all pets are considered overweight or obese. Regarding the risks associated with holiday weight gain, it’s staggering to learn that for every pound or two that you may put on, your pet is also likely to gain a proportionate amount.

Pet Obesity and Suffering

An overweight or obese pet may not suffer from a breakdown in self-esteem, but he or she may not enjoy the same quality of life once known. Decreased energy levels, lack of mobility, and less time exercising can lead to further weight gain and associated issues, such as:

  • Joint pain or arthritis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Insulin resistance
  • Hypertension that can lead to kidney or eye diseases
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Decreased immunity
  • Respiratory disease
  • Skin diseases
  • Lower urinary tract problems
  • Decreased life expectancy
  • It’s not a cheerful list by any means, but pet obesity – and its many associated health risks – isn’t totally hopeless. By actively participating in a weight loss strategy, you and your pet can have many more holidays together.

    What You Can Do

    First, it’s important to bone up on the the naughty foods list, so you are super prepared for the approaching holidays and all the treats that should be off-limits for your pet. Next, if you feel so inclined you can make your very own homemade pet treats to provide healthy alternatives for your pet. Now you can get down to the nitty-gritty of preventing or dealing with pet obesity, and that’s with proper nutrition and exercise, of course!

    The Gift That Keep Giving!

    Keeping your pet trim and fit can add about two years to his or her life. All that extra time together is really what the holidays are about and we’re here to help you make that happen.

    Regular physical examinations support your endeavor to combat pet obesity at home, and whether you’re addressing feline weight gain or canine it’s critical to address your pet’s individual needs.

    Give Snuggles, Not Food

    Pet obesity is a very real threat, but by controlling food portions, limiting snacks and treats, and maintaining daily exercise, you are giving your pet the best gift of all: health! Just remember, this holiday season when you want to share the love with your pet, offer snuggles, a walk, or grooming session instead of an unhealthy holiday treat.

    The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital wish you and your’s a happy and healthy holiday season!