Are you and your pet obese because you’re miserable?

Your life has its limits, and so does your pet’s! Every minute is precious and we waste so much time with pointless things. Today’s era is not a great one for spirituality, for morality, for family and for mental health. We’re a mess, collectively. I was watching TV this morning while I drank my plunger coffee and struggled into my skinny jeans. Toddlers are now being sent to academic coaches to give them the edge when they get to school. The pressure on people is enormous. Lots of people are just checking out.

Kids are stressed these days, and so are animals and adults. We’ve worked ourselves up into tight little knots and things are getting worse. Evidence? Yes, there is plenty. You don’t have to look further than your (or your neighbour’s) expanding waistline to see that. Obesity is misery, utter misery. The world is now so miserable that even our pets are fat.

Proof: our pets are more anxious now

“One of the most common complaints of pet parents is that their dogs are disruptive or destructive when left alone. Their dogs might urinate, defecate, bark, howl, chew, dig or try to escape,” says the ASPCA. Some reports suggest that stress and anxiety can also lead to overeating and therefore, obesity.

I think our pets are fat for a lot of reasons, and I think that these reasons mirror our own reasons for being obese and miserable. According to the Wikipedia page on Pet Obesity:

“The primary reasons for obesity in pets is over eating and lack of physical exercise. In wealthier countries, many can afford to give their pets excessive amounts of food. Owners view food as a way to reward and treat their pets, which contributes to their overeating habits.”

Are our pets eating the wrong foods?

That’s from the wiki page I cited earlier. If that freaks you out – then read this! “Modern day pet foods are a higher quality food, and some pets are prone to gorging themselves to the limit of their stomach capacity, a behaviour developed through evolution.”

Personally, I also feel that the quality of our food is to blame for our own obesity too. Food used to be much more disgusting and access to fresh food was much more challenging for past generations. Just imagine how unattractive a casserole would have looked the next day after you wife had put it on the table for day 2 after a night of no refrigeration. Think how bored you’d get of fruit if all you could eat was apples all season because that was what was growing in your region.

Here’s one more reason pets are fat:

“Pets, especially dogs, are often not allowed to free roam as they did in the past. Pets confined to a house or small yard, or who are not regularly walked or played with, are more prone to obesity.”

And I feel that this is why we (along with our pets) are also obese now. We have lost so many of our freedoms. I haven’t owned a car for nearly 5 years. I still drive, and I hire or borrow a car when I need one. Sometimes this makes me feel less free as I can’t get to the places I want to as easily as everyone else.  I can’t just throw my camping gear in the back and “go bush” for a few days anymore. I need to plan.

Freedom ‘from’ and freedom ‘to’

But overall, having no car makes me feel more free. I rely a lot more on my body to move myself through life and this has had positive health effects. I am even thinking of cancelling my gym membership because I don’t really need it now. I run up stairs, dash across parks, walk through entire suburbs and weave through pedestrian traffic.

So, what do you do if you think that your dog or cat (or other pet) is obese because they are not happy?

Pets and anxiety

There are a few things you can do to lessen anxiety in your pet. Here are some things you can do for your dog from WikiHow:

  1. Look out for ‘tense posture’
  2. Check the dog’s eyes for signs of aggression
  3. Check that the ears are not pinned back
  4. Refusal to eat may indicate stress
  5. Sniffing and distracted behaviour
  6. Check for cues in his personality

Have you ever had an anxious or obese pet? How did you deal with it? 

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