How diet and obesity affects behaviour
Thursday, 4 July 2019 2:27 PM
Medical issues such as obesity have a direct impact on how your pet feels and therefore how he/she behaves. Overweight pets tire easily and can be grumpy due to fatigue or aches and pains, which are a direct result of excess weight. Joint pain is common in obese pets and can lead to pain induced aggression.
Obesity is often due to what is being fed, than how much is being fed. Most people do not deliberately over feed their pets. Rather, they feed small pieces of foods and treats containing high levels of carbohydrate, fat and additives. Which is the equivalent to us eating unhealthy fast food and lots of additive filled sweets.
Some dogs are naturally greedy and some even become food obsessed. These dogs often beg for treats or take any opportunity to steal tasty high calorie foods. High calorie treats are ideal for teaching and reinforcing desired behaviour. However, giving your pet small high calorie treats when ‘begging’ or allowing them to steal high calorie foods also reinforces this unwanted behaviour.
So next time you sit down with a cream biscuit and give even just a small piece to your pet to enjoy, consider how much pain that treat may cause your dog in the long term when obesity is an concern.
Veterinary Nurse Kirstie Hancock is qualified in animal behaviour with her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Society. She has lots of great tips and ideas when it comes to misbehaving pets. Keep an eye out for her monthly tips on our Facebook page. Also check out her own business Facebook page - Positive Paws.