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Jan 11 2016

Is Your Cat or Dog Overweight?

New Year, New You (and your pet too!)

January is overweight pet awareness month here at the Clinic! Come in today for a FREE body condition examination, weigh-in and recommendations with one of our Veterinary Technicians.

 

Is Your Cat or Dog Overweight?

Humans aren’t the only ones living large. The obesity epidemic is affecting our pets too, with an estimated 50% of U.S. cats and dogs being overweight. Additional weight places unnecessary stress on the animal’s organs, bones, joints decreases quality of life, cause disease, increases veterinary care costs and shortens lifespan.

 

How to Monitor Weight With a Periodic Examination:

  1. Slowly run your hand along your pet’s side. Pressing gently, you should be able to easily feel and count the ribs as you run your hand over him. Rib coverage is an important measurement to help you identify if your pet is overweight and is easy for you to do on your own.
  2. Look at your dog objectively. When viewed from above, does his body angle in in front of his hips, or has he lost his waist?

If these simple tests make you suspect your pet is overweight, bring him in for a full evaluation and diet guidance.

 

The Risk of Obesity Can be Increased by:

  • Genetics
  • High-fat diets
  • Overeating
  • Lack of exercise
  • Underlying health problems such as hypothyroidism

 

Common Health Issues Associated With Obesity Include:

  • Lameness and arthritis (leading to chronic pain)
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Cancers
  • Urinary bladder stones
  • Organ complications
    • Cardiovascular
    • Respiratory
    • Diminished immune function
    • Digestive disorders
  • Exercise intolerance and overheating
  • Injury prone
  • Increased surgical risks
  • Reduced life span (scientific research shows as much as 2+ years shorter)

 

“Rib coverage is an important 
measurement to help you identify if
 your pet is overweight and is easy for you to do on your own.”

 

Feed Your Pet For Good Health

  • Don’t feed table scraps and high-calorie treats.
  • Portion control – measure food precisely and have all family members keep an accurate record of feeding (including treats).
  • Choose appropriate food for your specific pet, we’re here to help!
  • Feed at specific times, and be consistent. Dogs learn quickly when food is available and when it is not. This minimizes what is perceived as “begging” behavior.
  • Utilize puzzle toys for feeding so your pet has to work for it. They are rewarded with food while getting exercise.

 

Why Many Weight-Loss Programs Fail

Metabolic Disorder:

If a metabolic disorder such as hypothyroidism is causing your dog’s weight gain, diet foods may not always help. Before initiating any diet, bring your dog in to be examined to rule out metabolic dysfunction and disease.

Reduced-calorie foods” may not be low in calories:

While these foods may have fewer calories than other maintenance foods in the same line, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s low enough in calories to help your dog lose the excess weight.

It is not appropriate to simply reduce the volume of their current food; this will cause malnourishment. Our veterinary health care team can help you determine which nutritional products are best for your pet.

Lack of Exercise:

Without adequate, consistent exercise as part of a weight-loss program, some overweight dogs may fail to lose weight, even if they’re on a low-calorie diet.

Take Away:

Being moderately to severely overweight can significantly diminish your cat or dog’s quality of life and longevity. When your porky pet pleads with you for an extra treat, remember, saying no may be the kindest response.

Dr. Jessica Jones | Pet Health

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