By Abe Lerner
Pet Obesity Rearing its Ugly Head
Have you ever endured a senior moment, triggering a lot of doubt & the self conceived notion of your diminishing capabilities? One innocent memory lapse & poof! You are now ancient. Perhaps you have experienced difficulty ascending a flight of stairs. Occasionally, when out of shape & lacking the desire to go up to the second floor, I’ll tell my kids that, “I’m 42 going on 108…”
As humans, we can engage in some good natured bantering on the subject. (You know, like equating old & burned out, with an American expressing interest in the World Cup!) What happens though, when we observe that our beloved pets are less playful than usual? When seemingly routine jumping on the furniture or climbing up the steps become laborious chores, a red flag is raised. Such was the case with General Dusty, a handsome husky adored by his pet parents, Steve & Lori McDougal.
Steve & Lori were alarmed, when their once agile General Dusty, lost the spring in his step. Walks were no longer of interest to him. Neither was playing fetch in the backyard. It appeared that General Dusty was more content with popping open a cold one, leaning back, & watching the game (World Cup?)What was going on? Was this a typical aging symptom, General Dusty morphing into an immobile couch potato? Or was there some underlying reason behind this dramatic shift in his behavior?
A trip to their local vet yielded a disturbing diagnosis, generating feelings of guilt. General Dusty joined the ranks of his fellow canine brethren who are overweight. According to an Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) survey, 52.5% of dogs in the USA were rendered by their veterinarians as being overweight or obese. 52.5%! That is an outrageous figure! (Literally & figuratively…)
Obese animals generally have less stamina, diminishing their interest in engaging in physical activity. This explained General Dusty’s reluctance to move around. He was now susceptible to many serious ailments; Arthritis, Diabetes, & diseases of the kidney just to name a few.
Regretfully, this could’ve been prevented. Steve & Lori thought it was cute, when friends & neighbors commented on General Dusty’s plump physique. Instead of stemming the tide, his condition was exacerbated by being fed excessively, & fattening treats at that. Had they recognized the negative culture that they were nurturing, Steve & Lori as loving pet parents would’ve maintained a much healthier lifestyle for General Dusty. Instead, they remained with a lot of grief, acknowledging full well, that they had contributed, albeit innocently, to their pet’s plummeting overall health.
Steve & Lori were beside themselves, but being of strong character, they chose to combat the obesity & not throw in the towel. “Salute to the General”, became their motivational slogan. Guided by their vet, they were determined to right their wrong. They were advised though, that mental fortitude over the long haul would be crucial, as they’d be attempting to teach an old dog new tricks…
They began by cutting out all treats cold turkey. This prompted General Dusty to revolt, but their stubbornness paid off, as eventually he began eating healthier foods. Three brisk walks became part of his daily routine. Although challenging, as personal time constraints & General Dusty’s initial refusal to participate were hindrances, their resolve was strengthened, knowing that the stakes were high. Sheer willpower to succeed can assist one navigate through many obstacles. And navigate they did, as Steve & Lori prevailed big time. General Dusty began shedding pounds steadily, & following a year on the new regimen, the vet proclaimed him out of the obese range, as he’d lost most of his excess weight.
Kudos to Steve, Lori, & General Dusty, as the trio persevered in attaining their ultimate goal: the General’s general health & well being.
We all have a little of Steve, Lori, & General Dusty in us. Armed with the proper knowledge pertaining to our pet’s health, we all can utilize our capabilities, channeling our energy towards eliminating pet obesity as a national epidemic…
Abe Lerner is a member of the pack at NutralifePet, a division of Nutralife Health Products, Inc., which has been selling high quality dietary supplements since 1996. NutralifePet, the manufacturer of Ultra Joint & Liver Support with SAM-e for dogs and cats, caters to the individual needs of each pet. NutralifePet…caring about animals, one pet at a time…