Pet Health: Getting Your Pet in Shape to Travel

Poor Fat KittyHere’s the skinny: Healthier pets are better travelers. A shocking report last Wednesday from the Pet Obesity Protection states that over half of the dog and cat population in the U.S. is overweight. Overweight pets suffer from health related problems such as diabetes, kidney failure and cancer. Last year pet owners with one unnamed insurance company paid over 25 million dollars to vets to treat obesity related issues. If you are a pet traveler, having your pet healthy will help you in a number of ways:

• Better chance of traveling the cabin- For example, if your pet is a smaller breed (under 18” in length) whose average weight should be around 11 to 15 pounds they will be able to travel in the cabin area of a plane. However, if a pet from the same breed is obese and weighs 20+ pounds that pet will not make the weight requirement for in cabin travel. This especially pertains to international travel.

• Better chance of less breathing problems- Most dogs pant to regulate body temperature (since they don’t have sweat glands). When a dog is overweight regulating body temperature becomes difficult and heavy panting occurs. Heavy panting causes stress and anxiety and could lead to heat stroke.
• Better chance of fewer problems with other health related issues- Diabetes, joint damage, increased blood pressure, skin and hair coat issues, digestive issues, etc. are all common problems that affect obese pets.
• Better chance your pet will withstand the rigors of traveling and a new environment- A healthy pet will have increased stamina, a better tolerance of weather conditions as well as better breathing capabilities. All of these factors play an important role in pet travel.

Here’s the good news: Many vets consider animal obesity to be the most preventable pet health crisis facing the United States. During the feeding process, aim for small amounts of high-protein and low carbohydrate meals. Remember that although a healthy diet is good, exercise is key.

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Pet Health: Getting Your Pet in Shape to Travel — 1 Comment

  1. I am surprised to hear that so many pets are considered overweight! I didn’t realize that a dog’s heavy panting could cause it more stress as well. I think it’s important to help your pets become healthier not just for travel, but to relieve stress and discomfort in their daily life.

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