Your pet sugar glider can become obese if you're not careful. Obesity can lead to heart problems and other serious health concerns, so it's important that your pet maintains a healthy weight. Here are three things sugar glider owners need to know about obesity.
Why do sugar gliders become obese?
In the wild, sugar gliders feed on bugs like spiders, moths and beetles. To get enough food to survive, they need to chase and catch insects. It's hard for a wild sugar glider to become obese when they need to work so hard for their food. In captivity, sugar gliders don't need to expend any energy to get their food, so it's easy for them to become obese.
Giving your sugar glider too many treats can also contribute to obesity. Treats like sunflower seeds, nuts and dried fruits should only be fed occasionally to keep your pet from becoming obese. The bulk of their diet should be composed of insects, soft sugar glider pellets, fruits and vegetables.
What are the signs of obesity in sugar gliders?
If your sugar glider becomes obese, you may feel the excess fat on their body when you hold them. They may also appear noticeably plump. Obese sugar gliders may also become lazy and stop climbing around their cage or playing.
Regularly weighing your sugar glider can help you identify their weight gain before the problem gets out of control. Since they're so small, you'll need to use a kitchen scale to register their weight. Male sugar gliders should weigh between 90 and 140 grams, while females should weigh between 80 and 130 grams.
How can obesity be managed?
If you determine that your sugar glider has become obese, your vet can help you get your pet's weight back on track. They can recommend a safe weight loss diet for your pet and tell you what to feed your pet once they've attained a healthy weight.
Exercise is also important for your obese sugar glider. In the wild, sugar gliders get a lot of exercise, but it's hard for them to get the exercise they need in a cage. Ensure that they have lots of branches in their cage to climb. Toys such as exercise wheels can also be placed in the cage to encourage exercise. It's also a good idea to let your pet out of their cage everyday for supervised playtime.
For more information, contact Belaire Animal Hospital or a similar location.
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