Yes, Your Pet IS Fat!
Ways to Tell if Your Pet is Fat
Just because your kitty cat does not fill the entire window sill, and your puppy is not yet waddling, chances are your pet may still be considered fat. 'Pudgy' is now becoming the new standard for our pets. Unfortunately, just like people, our pets are now suffering from the same diseases, e.g. arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and liver problems, and are even prescribed the same human medications.
(Just added: I just wrote a hub about acupuncture for cats and dogs because they are affected by human ailments - please see link below)
I live in NYC where I regularly see people walking their waddling dogs, and the young (giant) cat that decided to come in my window? - when I picked him up to put him out, and he swung at me, he must have weighed a good 20 pounds - and had quite a fist.
According to the ASPCA* our pets our supposed to be 'shapely' just like people. But, if it is true that people and dogs look alike, maybe it was destined to happen - fat Americans = fat pets.
Not sure? Then consider the following:
The Hourglass Shape - Your pet should be shapely when you look down - a bit broader at the shoulders, narrower at the waist and broader again at the hips. According to the ASPCA - dogs and cats should have a 'waist' that is noticeable.
The Ribs - You should be able to feel your pet's ribs, with just a thin layer of fat protecting them. If you cannot feel the ribs without pressing, your pet is overweight.
The Tummy - I've seen dogs and cats with stomachs nearly dragging the floor. Your pet should have a tummy that is tucked up a bit when you look from the side at the flank area. There should be a noticeable 'tuck' - meaning the abdomen should go upward from the bottom of the rib cage to the inside of the thighs/flanks.
One more issue:
What is Fat Around the Tail Base? - I was watching Judge Joe Brown - two women were suing a breeder because they said they bought tea cup dogs that were supposed to be tiny - but they were now too big and too heavy. With the help of the expert testimony from a Vet, it was determined that the pets were being overfed. The Vet said that in addition to the hourglass shape, ribs that can be felt, and the tucked in tummy, there should be no fat around the base of the tail. These two dogs were fat in all the categories.The plaintiffs lost their case.
Susceptible Dog Breeds - According to the ASPCA, Labrador retrievers and pugs are most susceptible, as well as older dogs. Cats are said not to be as susceptible to obesity, but I think that is changing due to the poor quality of food. (See next)
What to do? Just like with people, the first thought is give your pet less food and increase exercise - but if it doesn't work with people why will it work with pets? We truly have to stop beating up ourselves and recognize that we have a serious problem with our food supply. The problem we have to face is the fact that just like people, our pets are also living on a diet of processed and prepackaged food - food that is devoid of nutrition, filled with empty calories, sometimes found to be toxic, and who knows what else that may be causing weight gain.
What then to feed pets? I think this requires some thought. Just like people need to return to whole, fresh food for optimum health, our pets probably need real foods too.
But no table scraps? - We always hear this, yet when I was growing up, we always gave our pets the same food we ate and they lived forever, were never sick, had healthy coats, and were never fat. Neither were we. We have been told (but by whom?) that we should never give our pets human food because it is not good for them - that's probably true, now, because it is not good for us either. But we have to admit that just like the 'processed food for profit' for people, it is also created for pets.
Pet foods are healthier? - I really don't know about that since we don't know what's in it and so often, just like people food, the food is recalled. Once, I read the ingredients in a can of dog food and it said something about it containing 'horse meat' - well, I don't know where it occurs on earth, but I have never known dogs to bring down a horse to eat. I know too, that beef is recalled annually here in the US by millions of pounds, and is put back on the shelf - somewhere (see link).
An Avocado - another hubber - theherbivorehippi - wrote a comment in my avocado hub and told me how she came home one day and found that her dogs had eaten her avocados and left the pit and peels laying around. Pretty funny because I can visualize the scene, you come home, turn on the lights and look at this giant pit laying in the middle of the floor, then the plot thickens with peels, another pit, and probably no dogs in sight - but I do think our pets need good fat just like we do.
Grass - no not that kind of grass, the lawn. I know cats are meant to tear into meat but I think they need more than that - and I'm not going to bring home mice - so yes, a variety of store-bought foods and scraps - but one day I decided to pick some of my own pesticide-free grass and see what my two cats would do with it...
Well...they nearly ripped my fingers off grabbing it out of my hands. I could barely get it down to the floor, they made guttural sounds as they gobbled it down, they were like wild animals! - and then they looked at me with big dark wild eyes - for more? and made me nervous. So occasionally, I would bring in a little grass - and yes, they always acted like lions. Both my cats, one rescued from the street and another from a shelter, lived to be 13 and 15 so I don't think the grass, and table scraps hurt them. If anything, I think it was the toxic food that was recalled that may have suddenly affected one of my elderly cats who suddenly got ill. Seems melamine was found in much of our pet food supply. If you check the internet, you will find that pet foods are regularly recalled. But it is up to the manufacturer to decide to issue the recall.
What's a person to do? I don't know, maybe cut back a little on the store bought pet food and find out what other foods you can supplement the diet with - foods that are fresh and natural. There are pet food recipes on the internet. Time consuming? Yes, but the cost of a trip to the Vet will wipe out all the time you have ever saved in your life and don't forget the costs of prescription.
But if you must fill a prescription - here's a great suggestion from the ASPCA - it recommends not filling a prescription at the vet - it may well be cheaper at a local pharmacy as it is the same medication that people use - which scares me because we do know about side effects.
And sure, run them through the house - make them play. I find dogs are naturally hilarious - and like a good time, and cats are wry and will allow you to amuse them and may even join you in the fun and games. I now have a rescued cat and she is the most playful cat I've ever had and she is nearly two years old. I've had her a year. I've never played so hard with a cat - but how could I not. She's used to being outdoors and running free and fast, and climbing and stalking and so on. She runs me through the house, then I run her.
With my newest cat, I think - like myself, about varying my poisons. This is because even organic salads and such have been recalled. So I give my beautiful wild cat a wide variety of foods. I'd hate to read about a recall and knowing that particular food was her diet exclusively.
Some suggested reading:
A job? Well, if you are tired of leaving every morning, for the first of your three to six jobs, and watching Fluffy or Rex laying on the couch - not even bothering to say goodbye - maybe it's time for your pet to get a job (see link below) - and by the way, cats can earn more.
- and keep you pets safe at home because they will put anything in their mouth (see link).
- and what about people who eat anything? Well, just know that it is often banned or not even considered in other countries but we eat it in the US - and probably give it to our pets. See that link too!
*ASPCA is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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