You may think that your companion being overweight is not a serious problem. However, just like humans; animals are prone to a range of health problems from obesity. This blog looks into the health problems obesity causes, how to tackle obesity, and how to measure your pet's weight.
Health Problems Caused By Obesity:
The most common health problems in dogs that stem from obesity are:
More alarmingly though, obesity can shorten a dog’s lifespan by as much as two years.
Obesity in cats can also be extremely detrimental to health.
Common health conditions in cats, as a result of obesity, include:
Lower Urinary Tract Disease (cystitis)- this can cause something known as a blocked bladder in male cats which is very serious and can be life-threatening.
Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Lipidosis) - this tends to happen if your cat drops weight too fast. This is why it's so important to have support from a veterinary practice.
Matting of fur - we often find that cats who are overweight struggle to groom themselves and can present to us with very tight mats.
Another important thing to consider is that obese animals are more of anaesthetic risk. As a pet owner, any anaesthesia is daunting let alone when your pet is at higher risk. This is why we want to help keep your companion maintaining an appropriate weight.
How To Tackle Obesity:
Weight Management Clinics
At Roundwood Vets, we offer weight management clinics with our nurses, where we aim to help keep your pet as happy and healthy for as long as possible.
The clinics work on a referral basis from your vet, where they calculate a healthy weight loss programme and discuss food and diet. To monitor your pet's weight loss, we recommend visiting the clinic monthly. This can help us gauge if your pet is losing weight too quickly or slowly.
Feeding Your Pet
To help your pet lose weight, one of our nurses may suggest putting them on a special weight management diet. It can often be handy to pre weigh the required amount of food your pet needs for each meal and bag them for the week. This way your pet is getting the exact amount of food each time. Splitting up your pets' meals can also help weight loss. Having little amounts of food often can prevent them from feeling hungry.
Encouraging exercise is equally as important as diet. For dogs, regular walks and garden exercise are essential for keeping them active and helping them lose weight. For cats using toys can be valuable, as this makes them run and move as they play. For our lazier furry friends, feeding them on the stairs can be beneficial. This makes them move up and down the stairs to get their food.
Other Ways To Aid Weight Loss:
Avoid giving human food, what seems like a small amount of food to you is a lot to them.
Scatter feeding can be used to elongate your dog's mealtimes. This can be done by scattering their food over a wide area such as around your garden or house and also provides mental stimulation at the same time.
Giving your pet vegetables (such as carrots) are good alternative snacks to treats.
Make sure the whole family is involved and aware of your pet's weight loss journey to avoid overfeeding.
Once your pet has reached its target weight, it's worth having a celebration. This is not the end of the road – rather the beginning of a new life. It is important to keep the weight off; maintaining healthy body weight is essential for keeping your pet healthy.
Checking Your Pets Weight:
The charts below can offer visual cues to help understand the healthy weight we are looking for.
Ideally, a dog and cat of a healthy weight should have visible ribs with a tucked tummy.
If you suspect your pet is overweight, contact your veterinary practice and book an appointment in the Nursing Clinic to help them on the road to feeling happier and healthier.