Pet Obesity Day: Keeping Your Pet Healthy
This week (11th October) marks pet obesity day in the UK. A day dedicated to raising awareness about the issue of obesity and promoting healthier diets for our pets.
You might think your overweight companion is not posing a significant concern. However, similar to humans, animals are susceptible to a spectrum of health issues stemming from obesity. This blog delves into the health complications associated with obesity in pets, strategies to address it, and ways to monitor your pet's weight.
Health Issues Caused by Obesity:
Obesity in dogs can be a contributing factor to the following health problems:
Even more concerning, obesity can reduce a dog's lifespan by up to two years.
Obesity in cats can also have severely detrimental effects on health, and can be a contributing factor:
Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Lipidosis), often occurs if your cat loses weight too rapidly, requiring veterinary support.
Matting of fur, as overweight cats may struggle to groom themselves, leading to tight mats.
Additionally, it's crucial to acknowledge that obese animals are at higher risk during anaesthesia, adding to the apprehension of any pet owner. This underscores the importance of helping your companion maintain a healthy weight.
Weight Management Clinics:
At Roundwood Vets, our nurses conduct weight management clinics to promote the long-term happiness and health of your pet. These clinics are typically initiated by referral from your veterinarian. The process involves developing a tailored weight loss program and discussing dietary changes. Regular clinic visits, ideally on a monthly basis, allow us to assess your pet's progress and make adjustments as needed.
Feeding Your Pet:
To facilitate weight loss, our nurses may recommend a specialised weight management diet. Pre-weighing the prescribed food portions for each meal and portioning them for the week ensures precise feeding. Dividing your pet's meals into smaller, more frequent servings can prevent hunger. Be aware however that if your pet suddenly starts to appear more hungry but is also losing weight, this can be a sign of some health conditions.
Encouraging physical activity is as crucial as diet adjustments. Dogs benefit from regular walks and outdoor playtime, while cats can stay active through interactive toys. For less active pets, feeding them on stairs can promote movement.
Other Weight Loss Strategies:
Avoid giving human food, as even small amounts can be excessive for pets.
A healthy 15kg dog requires approximately 700 calories per day. Feeding them one digestive biscuit is the equivalent to a human eating three!
A healthy 4kg cat needs around 225 calories per day. A 25g piece of cheddar contains nearly half their daily calorie allowance!
Employ scatter-feeding or slow-feeding bowls to extend mealtimes and provide mental stimulation by dispersing food in a wide area.
Substitute treats with vegetable snacks like carrots.
Involve the entire family in your pet's weight loss journey to prevent overfeeding.
Once your pet achieves its target weight, it's essential to celebrate this milestone. However, this isn't the end but the beginning of a healthier life. Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial for your pet's ongoing well-being.
Monitoring Your Pet's Weight:
The charts below offer visual cues to help gauge the ideal weight for dogs and cats. Ideally, a healthy dog or cat should have visible ribs and a tucked tummy.
If you suspect your pet is overweight, book an appointment to see one of our nurses at our weight management clinics.
Call us on 020 8459 4729 to kickstart your pet's journey toward a happier and healthier life.