Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures) - Hedgehog Central – Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

Here's the situation:

My vet thinks my girls are "mordibly obese" (keep in mind she also thinks hedgehogs can't get over 600g ) and that it's because I'm feeding them cat food instead of hedgehog food (let's just ignore this part )

Puff - 13-14 months approx. - 505-515g
Chloe - 9 months approx. - 570-580g

I am more concerned about their "shape"s rather than their "weight"s. The vet tech was able to scruff Puff better than I can and her "fat pockets" under her armpits and chin have gotten a lot worse (she had them when I got her due to being fed kitten food too long)



Chloe, on the other hand has been gaining weight like crazy the past few months and it seems that most of it is "spilling over her sides" (the pics don't show just how bad the spilling is I'm afraid)



They both can still roll in balls, are eating normal amounts for themselves (about 7-10g of food per day for both - I do weights not kibble #'s - although Puff often eats more than Chloe) and are both running on their wheels...although I think Chloe is having trouble running as much due to the hanging fat over her sides.

Here are some more pics:

PUFF:

[

CHLOE:



My question is: Are they obese? I personally feel like they don't need to lose weight, but need to have better "shapes". However as owner, we can be bias when it comes to weight issues so I want a second opinion.

And my second question is, if they do need to slim up or lose weight, what is the best way to do so? Here is my "get fit plan" I've thought of...let me know what you think!

1. Slowly take out the higher fat foods in their diet (and possibly add new lower fat ones)

-They are on CSFTCLS Lite (9% fat) , Blue Spa Weight Control (9% fat) and Wellness (8% fat) all of which I will keep. I will also keep NB green pea & duck (12% fat) because they really like it.

-However they are also on SG katz-n-flocken (12%fat), Innova Sr. (12%), By Nature Organics (12%) and Technical Natural Blend (12.5% fat - the "junk food"). Now that's a lot of 12%'s and keep in mind those are MINIMUMs. So I was thinking of removing these / replacing them with lower fat foods or at least cutting back the amounts I offer...what do you think?

-I was also thinking of adding Spike's Delight Light as the "hedgehog"/junk food (replacing the technical) It would make my vet be quiet about me not feeding a hedgehog food in the mix and it would be low in fat (only 6% fat).


I was wondering what foods people with obesity-prone hedgies feed?


-I've also been feeding really little mealies (babies) lately instead of the bigger ones and crickets instead of mealies when I can get them...will this help?

2. Add Veggies/Fruit for them to "fill up on"...now I've heard this shouldn't be done every night so how often is safe to feed them fruits and veggies?

3. Promote natural foraging behaviour by hiding food around the cage.
-Put mealworms in those plastic easter eggs for them to get open
-Possibly add the Slimfit food dispenser ball... http://www.petsafe.net/Products/Feeders/SlimCat.aspx
(of course food would still be provided in the dish)

4. Encourage exercise outside the cage....
-I was thinking about swimming lessons, how often is this safe to do?
-How else can I encourage activity outside the cage?

Is there anything else I can do? Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 02-14-2010, 02:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

Puff doesn't look obese at all, and Chloe just looks a little fluffy. I would recommend lower fat foods. Also you are right about the insects, crickets are much lower in fat, and might be a good idea.



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Old 02-14-2010, 10:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

Natural Balance reduced calorie is the favorite food here. http://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/catfor ... alCat.html

Crude Protein 32% minimum
Crude Fat 9.0% minimum
Crude Fiber 6.0% maximum
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

They don't look obese by any means. Chloe is a bit fluffier but nothing concerning. I've had some that walked on their skirt too and it wasn't so much that they were overweight but they walked with shorter legs so their skirt would tend to drag on the ground. They're low riders.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

I got worried too as Egon started to get a bit older. I wasn't used to him being a bit on the fluffy side hah. He looks just about the same as your girls. I was told as long as they can ball up completely they are fine.
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Old 02-14-2010, 04:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy
They're low riders.
ahahahahaha!!! that was a laugh out loud for me for sure. Harley is such a low rider.
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Old 02-14-2010, 04:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

My personal opinion is that I'd rather see a hedgehog carry a bit more weight than a bit less. They can lose weight instantly when they become ill and a few extra grams could mean the difference in their recovery.
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Old 02-14-2010, 07:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

I've had the same concern about Ender. I call him my chunky monkey, but he can still curl up. He's never curled up all the way on me, so this is normal:
http://pets.webshots.com/photo/20948755 ... vhost=pets

I don't think he's been running as much this winter so I've switched him to a diet food and he only gets 2 mealies a day. I've also cut the amount of scrambled eggs.

I tried to get him to run around the hedgie room today. He hid under a towel and peed and pooped on the rug *grin*
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are my girls obese? And if so..what to do? (Pictures)

Thanks so much everyone, it is such a relief to know they aren't obese!

I am glad you mentioned "low riders" Nancy, that is definitely what Chloe does!!!

I think I will add a few more lower fat foods, just so they don't get any "fluffier" but I'm not gonna make them lose weight either. Thanks for the food reccomendtation Herisson, I think I will pick a bag up tonight.

I feel like my girls are running less now that it's winter too, jopenguin.

I have the cages temps at 76-78F throughout (multiple thermometers in the cages) and lights on 12 hours per day but do you think if I bought some of that sheet plastic from walmart that Nancy recommends and covered the cages to keep more heat in and adjusted the lights to 14 hours per day, that my girls would run more?
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