If you are on any kind of social media, you have likely stumbled across a video of a charmingly chunky pet raccoon. I’ll admit, even I find fat raccoons cute from an aesthetic point of view. Once you realize what obesity means for the animal, however, the concept of fat raccoons turns a lot darker.
Fat pet raccoons are, about 98% of the time, the result of being fed an improper diet. Raccoons can eat almost anything, but that does not mean they should. Unfortunately, the majority of pet raccoons are not fed proper diets, and this ends up taking a major toll on the animals body. Unlike domestic pets, there are no commercially made foods for pet raccoons. This lack of ease when it comes to finding and preparing food for a pet raccoon, along with issues finding proper dietary information, often leads to pet raccoons being gorged on things like cat and dog food. The closest thing we have to a commercially made food for pet raccoons is Mazrui Omnivore Diet, which is great if you are lazy like I am! But even that still needs to be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Obesity in pet raccoons comes with a host of serious medical problems that often lead to death. One of the most common is issues related to pet raccoon obesity is organ failure, often affecting the heart, kidneys, and thyroid. Diabetes can also occur in raccoons, and is caused by the overconsumption of “human foods.”
Raccoons have very slow metabolisms compared to other mammals, and because of this, it is hard to get the weight off once it has been put on! This is one of the reason some of our raccoons are on the chunkier side. Vanellope, one of our rescue raccoons, was named because she was fed a diet of mostly human deserts! However, just because it is hard to get raccoons back down to a healthy weight, don’t think that making a change won’t have a positive impact. Even if your raccoon can’t lose the weight again, it is always better off eating a balanced diet than things like cat food (which easily causes organ failure.)