Obesity is one of the most common nutritional disorders in our pets today and close to 60% of all dogs are overweight and 40% of cats are obese.
Pets are considered obese when they are 15% over their optimal weight. This can occur when there is excess caloric intake and reduced physical activity.
Over-eating is partly the result of the attractive taste of many of today’s commercial pet foods (eg high in salt and fat) however, the major cause is supplementation with table scraps, snacks and other foods.
Obese pets respond to particularly good tasting food by eating beyond their requirements.
Reduced physical activity or inadequate exercise contributes to obesity, as does eating when bored or idle.
Over feeding puppies predisposes them to obesity as adults by increasing their number of fat cells. Allowing them to become obese during growth will often plague them with obesity throughout life.
There are four main contributing factors in your pet’s overweight or obese conditions:
- Poor quality of incorrect food
- Insufficient exercise
- Medical conditions such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism.
Obesity can predispose your pet to the following medical conditions:
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Respiratory distress
- High blood pressure
- Digestive disorders
- Skin diseases
- Liver disease
- Heat stress
- Increased risk during surgery and anaesthesia
- Musculoskeletal diseases
This is why it becomes extremely important that we treat our pets for obesity. With these related medical conditions our beloved pets live shorter and more uncomfortable lives.
Tips for Good Results –
- Feed your pet the correct amount of food.
- Divide the daily requirement into 2 or 3 meals over the day.
- Keep a weight loss record.
- Set achievable goals –realistic weight loss is approx 1% of bodyweight per week
Exercise tips for Cats –
- Encourage your cat to follow you around the house, particularly up and down stairs.
- Use toys to encourage your cat to play.
- Hide food & make them ’hunt’ for it.
- Shine a torch on the wall and encourage your cat to chase it.
Exercise tips for Dogs –
- Take your dog for regular walks.
- Try walking on different surfaces, such as sand or on hilly surfaces -this provides extra resistance.
- Encourage play in the garden.
- Join a dog group and participate in activities like agility, swimming, bushwalking, lure coursing or flyball etc.
Remember, ultimately you are responsible for what your pet eats.
Please feel free to make an appointment with one of our friendly vets to discuss your pets weight issues.