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What fat cats and pudgy pooches say about modern pet owners

[Sponsored post] Dogs and cats have been companions to humans for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In the last 30 – 50 years, however, pets have gained social status as family members, mostly to their benefit, but in many cases – to their downfall. More than 40% of modern pets are overfed, under-exercised and just plain fat. And we know why – it’s just difficult for veterinarians and doctors to get through to pet owners who don’t want to hear it.

So let’s look at what makes modern pets fat… and then address the problem.

Modern pet owners love their pets

One of the primary causes of overweight pets is their eyes.

What?

If you’ve ever needed to resist the pull of those puppy-dog eyes or the gemstone quality of your chirping cat’s eyes, you’ll understand that those eyes and the way pet owners love their pets, are the main reason why pets are getting more and more overweight. Our social bonds with our pets mean that we use food not only to reward them, but to show them we love them. So an overweight pet is a loved pet, right? It’s a complicated love.

Modern lifestyles are more sedentary

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but many modern households simply don’t have the time to exercise their pets in the way that’s healthy for the pet. We’re too busy sitting at our desks or on our couches or in our cars. Neutered animals, especially, have an increased risk of obesity, but it’s a risk that’s easily mitigated with daily exercise… that many pet owners don’t have the time for. So couple the guilt of not spending enough time with our pets, and using food to show love (and to lessen the guilt), and it’s a chubby time bomb just waiting to go off.

Modern pet owners don’t know their pets are in pain

Here’s the rub: an overweight pet is in pain. Whether it’s joint pain from carrying the extra weight, discomfort from breathing difficulties, or chronic inflammation, a fat cat or dog is dealing with pain. A study in the Netherlands and Thailand also measured the quality of life of overweight pets, concluding that there were psychological and emotional factors at play as well. Dr Deborah Linder, a veterinary nutritionist and Head of the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals, says that obesity in pets “can cause complications in almost every system in the body” – think bones, joints, heart, pancreas, or all of the above. Overweight pets have lower vitality, quality of life and even poorer emotional health than their healthy counterparts.

Think about it: when dogs and cats play, there’s a primal instinct that’s triggered – they get a euphoric rush when they catch the frisbee, ball, or feathery cat toy. They thrive on exercise; not just for the physical exertion, but the emotional high from endorphins. Same as humans. An overweight pet is missing a critical part of ‘dogness’ or ‘catness’ – being too fat is causing them to dog less and cat less. They’re missing out and it can be depressing.

Combine these physical and emotional factors, and you’ve got two of the reasons why overweight pets also die an average of 1,8 years sooner than healthy pets.

Modern pet owners CAN help their pets to lose weight

As with humans, the ‘rule’ around food and exercise is that the calories that go in must be used up or they get stored as fat. Treats should be given as a reward for behaviour or obedience, not simply to show love or to soothe the guilt of being too busy for pets. What pets really want is to spend time with their owners and to share activities and receive praise, approval and as many throws of the ball or swipes of the cat toy as possible!

But a change in behaviour is not easy, and in order to kickstart an overweight pet’s weight loss, a specially-formulated veterinary-approved diet needs to be implemented. Hill’s Science Plan Perfect Weight pet food (with dog and cat variants) is the ideal solution for helping pets to lose weight. It’s the nutritional result of decades of research into healthy pet nutrition, and provides a calorie-restricted, yet balanced diet to ensure overweight pets have a chance of becoming fit, healthy and happy once again.

Hill’s Science Plan Perfect Weight contains premium ingredients, with high-quality proteins as the main source of energy, and L-carnitine to improve fat metabolism. It contains prebiotic fibre to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. The Perfect Weight diet for medium and large dogs also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help protect dogs’ joints while they are losing weight.

Both dog and cat variants of Hill’s Science Plan Perfect Weight pet food give pets all the right nutrition and balanced vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to ensure their diet is still healthy and complete while they embark on weight loss and long-term healthy weight management.

If you are the owner of an overweight pet, speak to your vet about your pet’s health and longevity and, after a good check-up and an honest chat, ask for their recommendation on the best nutritional solution for your pet’s weight management. It will be Hill’s Science Plan Perfect Weight, of course.

The Hill’s Science Plan Perfect Weight range

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