Weightwatching for Pets
Obesity in the human population is often a topic of discussion in the media. Unfortunately, the same trends are seen in our pets.
Obesity is more of a problem in dogs as cats often exert more self control although they can suffer from obesity due to extreme laziness!
Obesity leads to many health problems in our pets. When carrying extra weight the heart and joints are put under more pressure. It can also lead to hormonal problems such as diabetes. Overweight animals can have trouble grooming and sores can develop where skin folds rub together. If you suspect your pet is overweight, advice on a change of diet can be obtained from your vet.
When running your hands over your pet’s ribcage you should be able to feel each individual rib without having to press too hard and you certainly shouldn’t be able to “pinch an inch”. Your vet will have a variety of prescription diets that are ideal for weight loss. They are specially formulated by being low fat but high fibre so they have less calories but the fibre helps to fill your pet up.
At the surgery, your pet will be weighed and an estimate made of what your pet should weigh! An accurate measure can then be made for the amount of food to be fed. The pet can be weighed again in a month and the degree of weight loss assessed and then the amount fed changed accordingly. Once your pet has lost the desired amount of weight, it can be changed on to a diet to maintain that weight.
Close monitoring is advisable to ensure those pounds don’t sneak back on. Most pet owners are really pleased when their pet successfully loses weight. Pets tend to be much brighter, have more energy and owners can often save money on things such as painkilling tablets that were needed for arthritis.
Just like “Weightwatchers” for humans, it is a good incentive to have a “weigh-in” at the vets as the nurses can regularly give advice on any alteration to food intake (and tell you off) if your pet’s weight has gone up!