Ensuring your pet sugar glider is healthy should be a top priority for any sugar glider owner. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, sugar glider owners often find themselves with a fat sugar glider.
While overweight or obese sugar gliders may look adorable to some, it’s not a condition you want to find your lovable pal in. Allowing your sugar glider to become obese is irresponsible and can cause serious health issues that lead to a lower quality of life for your sugar glider.
Video of Fat Sugar Glider
Signs Your Sugar Glider is Overweight
Just like when people start gaining too much weight, you’ll be able to see signs your sugar glider is on the heavy side too.
Obese sugar gliders often carry some of their excess weight on their chest. This will give them the appearance of having breasts when they are fat. Sugar gliders don’t have breasts like humans. What you’ll see is just excess fat.
Another sign your sugar glider is too fat is that it will become fatigued much quicker than it should. If your little pal is tiring easily, it could be a sign that their weight has increased too much.
The most surefire way to see if your sugar glider is obese is to weigh it. As you can probably guess, sugar gliders don’t weigh much. Using a postage scale or jeweler’s scale will give you a more accurate reading than your bathroom scale.
How Much Should a Sugar Glider Weigh?
According to the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, adult male sugar gliders weigh between 115 – 160 grams (4.06 – 5.64 ounces) while adult females weigh 95 – 135 grams (3.35 – 4.76 ounces)
Health Consequences of Sugar Glider Obesity
Obese sugar gliders can face a variety of health problems.
Problems such as unnecessary stress on your sugar glider’s bones and joints leading to arthritis. Arthritis will lead to a lower quality of life as your sweet friend slows their activity level to avoid pain.
Being overweight can negatively affect the sleep of sugar gliders.
Additionally, obese sugar gliders face increased risks of heart, liver, and kidney problems as well. Obesity puts a lot of pressure on these organs to do more work than they typically would. This extra work can cause increased chances of problems down the line.
Causes of Obesity in Sugar Gliders
In many ways, the causes of obesity in sugar gliders are very similar to the causes of obesity in humans. Poor diet and not enough exercise are the two leading factors.
Often sugar glider owners will offer too much food or too many food options to their sweet pals. Naturally, when presented with a lot of options during mealtime, sugar gliders will fill up on the fatty and sweet foods while ignoring the healthier alternatives.
Many commercially available sugar glider foods come with recommended complimentary treat suggestions as well. Be sure to stick with their plan unless otherwise directed by your vet.
Lack of Exercise
Pet sugar gliders do not have the need to constantly forage for food, run and hide from predators or be active in the ways their wild cousins do.
Being a responsible sugar glider owner, you’ll need to create opportunities for your tiny pals to get some exercise.
To make their sugar gliders work harder for their meal, many sugar glider owners create or purchase foraging trays.
When possible, take your sugar gliders out of their cage (in a safe and supervised environment!) and let them climb around and explore.
Also, make sure there are a variety of fun places to climb around the cage for your sugar gliders. Adding a wheel made for sugar gliders is great for exercise too!
Managing and Treating Obesity in Sugar Gliders
If you suspect your sugar glider is overweight or obese it’s best to discuss a plan to reduce their weight with your veterinarian. As with humans, lifestyle changes, more physical activity and reducing calories will all help your lovable sugar gliders.
In the section above, we discussed ways to increase the physical activity your sugar glider gets, but your vet may have ideas more targeted to your pet’s needs.
Transitioning to a Healthier Diet
If you’ve made the decision to change your sugar glider’s diet to something healthier, you’ll need to do it gradually.
A lot of times veterinarians will recommend a gradual shift that takes place over the course of about 30 days. Changing your sugar glider’s meal too rapidly can be stressful and cause other health problems for your sugar glider.
Keep in mind that not every sugar glider will fit the same mold so, talk to your vet before making changes.
Summary: Sugar Gliders Shouldn’t be Obese
While a chunky sugar glider looks very adorable to some, you shouldn’t allow your lovable pet to get overweight. Being obese leads to a lower quality of life and health consequences for sugar gliders.
Use a scale to make sure your sugar glider is in the right weight range. If you determine your sugar glider is overweight, there are a few ways you can help correct the problem.
Extra exercise in the form of foraging for food and exploring work well. Reducing your sugar glider’s calories can also help.
Be sure to consult a veterinarian before making in drastic changes as each sugar glider is unique.