Preventing Animal Diabetes in Your Pets

According to MSNBC, as many as one in 50 cats and dogs has diabetes, and more and more animals are diagnosed each year.

While the specific causes of diabetes mellitus are unknown, there are some things you can do to prevent your pet from developing this disease.

Obesity

Just like with humans, animals suffer from problems associated with excess body fat. Diabetes develops most often in pets who are overweight and obese, so the first step in preventing pet diabetes is determining whether your animal is overweight.

Feel your pet’s ribcage; if you can feel his or her ribs, your pet probably falls within a healthy weight range. Look at your pet’s profile; his or her stomach should not be distended over the ribcage. From an overhead view, you should be able to see your animal’s waist behind the ribcage.


If you suspect your pet is overweight, proper diet and exercise are key for bringing your furry friend back to a healthy weight and preventing the onset of diabetes.

Diet

Regardless of your pet's weight, a healthy diet will help prevent the development of diabetes. Dry pet foods made from grains contain too many carbohydrates, which aren’t found in your animal’s natural diet.

A diet high in carbohydrates causes intense spikes in blood glucose levels, which are then stored as fat. Stick to high-quality canned food that has a lot of fiber and less fat. Look for low-calorie versions to help obese pets bring their weight down to a more manageable level.

Try to stay away from the tempting habit of feeding your dog or cat from the table; scraps of “people food” increase your pet’s carbohydrate intake as well. Finally, avoid feeding your pet any sugary treats, but don’t eliminate treats completely. Look for low-sugar, low-fat, and low-calorie treats.


Exercise

Exercise helps animals maintain a healthy weight and prevent diabetes. Many dogs and outside cats have ample opportunity for exercise when they roam around, but indoor cats may need a little more incentive.

Cat toys that encourage leaping and chasing enhance a sedimentary cat’s exercise regimen and bring you entertainment as well! Increase walking time for dogs, or add a game of fetch to your normal routine. Playing with your pets not only increases your enjoyment, but also helps prevent animal diabetes.


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