5 Simple Ways to Prevent Obesity In Pets (Cats And Dogs)

Is your dog or cat slowly becoming obese? Here are five simple ways to address that concern.

Garfield the cat is perhaps the most popular obese pet. For many people, he’s cute and adorable. It’s a good thing that Garfield is just a comic character because if he was a real cat, I would have really been concerned with his weight.

You see, obese cats like Garfield are more prone to sugar diabetes. They are also more likely to suffer from various ailments as a result of excess weight. And cats aren’t the only ones who are prone to obesity-related health problems. Dogs, too, are equally at that risk.

Aside from diabetes, some of the health problems that may arise due to obesity are:

  • Heat intolerance
  • Hypertension
  • Respiratory problems
  • Liver disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Poor immune system function
  • Increased risk of cancer

Obviously, you don’t want your cat or dog to suffer from any of these problems. That’s why you should keep in mind the following ways to prevent obesity in cats:

Don't be a Fraidy Cat! - Taming pet anxiety

Ailurophobia is the fear of cats. As strange as it may seem, some people are actually afraid of those sweet, cuddly little fur-balls. Napoleon, who conquered half of Europe, couldn't bear to be in the room with one and Julius Caesar was said to shy from a whiskered face as well. I've known people who believed having a black cat cross your path was unlucky (or a white one depending on which part of the world from which you hale). And, my Grandmother always told me that finding a cat's whisker was good luck.

Don’t Lose Hope: Finding A Lost Pet

Twelve years ago this November one of the feral cats I cared for, Snowy, disappeared. He had been a part of the colony, it’s “king” really, for many years and every morning he greeted me with a sweet, hungry meow and a little headbonk. His appearance was the cue for the other cats in the colony to come stretching out of their little cat houses or leaping out of the ramshackle barn that was the center of their community. Then, one day, he just wasn’t there.

Open Your Heart to a Pet, It’s Good For You

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and many people are thinking about love or the ones they love. As a pet lover, I’m sure you include Fluffy or Fido on that list. Having a pet or pets in your life is not only fulfilling, but it’s actually good for you in some many ways. So if you were thinking about adding another pet to your family or adopting your first pet, here are a few incentives:

Pet-Owners Live Longer, Healthier Lives. There’s actual scientific evidence thathaving pets lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol and leads to a longer and happier life. In addition, cat owners specifically have alower chance of strokes than non-cat owners. Having a pet in your home also increases an infant’s immunity and makes them less likely to develop asthma.

Pets make you more active.There’s nothing that gets you on your feet and moving (regardless of the weather) quicker than a dog scratching to be taken on a walk. If you need an exercise partner, there’s none better than one with four paws whether that’s a dog or an adventurous kitty. So grab a lease and hit the jogging lane or opt for a hike.

Pets make you happy.Literally.Being around your pet causes your body to release seratonin which, well, makes you happy. It’s the same hormone released when you’re in love (or when you eat chocolate).Spending time with your pet also reduces your levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

Pets make you more responsible.Knowing that another being is relying on you for its care gives you purpose and a sense of responsibility.Pets are also proven to help their owners cope with depression. Helping others, whether that’s another person or animal, just makes you happy.And, as an added bonus, living with and caring for a pet can help children become more responsible and self-sufficient.

We could all stand to be a little more like our pets.Animals are amazing creatures. They don’t hold grudges, they find joy in the smallest things, and they let us know the wonder of truly unconditional love. As John Grogan said:Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”

If you have a pet or pets already, then this is old news. But if you don’t, then this is a perfect opportunity for you to adopt one.Just drop by your local shelter or Humane Association, fill out some paperwork, and, for a small fee, you could be enjoying the friendship of a cat or dog. Many shelters even have Valentine’s Day specials. So instead of buying a heart-shaped box of chocolates this holiday, why not open your heart to a pet? You’ll be glad you did.

Pet-safe gardening: Make your garden a haven, not a hazard

No matter what time the first crocuses bloom in your neighborhood, it’s those small changes that mark the beginning of spring and not a date on the calendar. For me, it’s the first appearance of bunnies in my yard, buttercups blooming, and the first real chance to clean the winter’s debris out of my flower beds and garden and start planning for the new growing season.

One of my favorite things about gardening has always been creating a safe space for my pets (as well as other animals) to enjoy. Rabbits, mice, and toads may seem like nuisances to some. But, to me, they’re an integral part of my garden’s eco-system. They help cut down on insects that damage the plants in my garden and just make it a friendly place. Likewise, I enjoy visits from neighborhood cats and dogs who are drawn to the lemon balm, catnip, and verbena that I plant or who just like to spend some time basking in the sun along with the raccoons and bunnies.