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