More and more dogs and cat are rated as overweight or obese by their veterinarians. These animals are being put at risk of developing serious diseases earlier in life, and they are also more likely to have a shortened life span.
Carrying extra weight can predispose your pet to early arthritic changes. The more weight they carry, the more pressure is applied to their joints. Arthritis can start earlier, and as they become more painful, they have less ability to exercise. This becomes a vicious cycle of inactivity leading to weight gain leading to further mobility concerns and weight gain. Some of these obese dogs and cats are euthanized early for an inability to get around, an inability to get in the car, or the inability to keep themselves clean.
Ligament tears are also more common in obese dogs – these are usually seen as an acute lameness. These tears can be surgically repaired, but once again, obesity will make recovery more difficult.
Obese cats that decide not to eat are more at risk of developing hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver. By not eating (for any reason – stress, other illness, or because they are unhappy with what you are offering) they develop hepatic lipidosis that makes them feel ill and less likely to eat. These cats get sick faster and need intensive care to start eating again.
Obese dogs and cats are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Just like people, animals can get diabetes. And just like people, diabetic cats and dogs may require twice daily insulin injections, special diabetic food, and regular blood glucose monitoring. Not only can this be stressful on the pet, as well as their caretaker, but it can also be expensive.
Animals that are overweight or obese may also have a more difficult time breathing and may develop exercise and heat intolerance. This can make weight loss difficult for these animals.
What diseases are obese pets predisposed to?
Is my PET fat?
Your pet’s body condition score is evaluated regularly at their annual exam. Here is a scale that is commonly used. An easy way to monitor your pet is to make sure that from above they have a slight indent at their abdomen, behind their rib cage, and from the side they should have a tuck up at their abdomen.
If your dog or cat’s body shape has become boxy or overly rounded, they are in need of a diet and exercise plan!
What do I do to help my pet lose weight?
If you acknowledge that your pet is in need of weight loss, that is the first step to making a change!
Next step is to determine where the unhealthy habits lie – it is either lack of exercise or over indulgence of food and treats.
It is important that your pet doesn’t lose weight too quickly! We want slow, steady, but consistent weight loss. Please contact your veterinarian to help develop a plan for safe weight loss for your pet.
We will have further tips later this month on healthy snacks.
Having difficulty achieving weight loss for your pet?
Some pets will need special diet food to help achieve weight loss success! These diets have a number of ways that they are effective in weight loss. They often help your pet to feel full, this means they won’t eat as much. They may have fewer calories per cup so they can eat more but not be taking in as many calories. If your pet needs a diet food, ask your veterinarian for assistance choosing the right one.
Weekends, Holidays and After-hours we are available 24 hours daily 365 days a year at our location for local service by your veterinary team. Please call our office in case of emergency.
Please note - Weekend, Holiday and After-hour service is offered only to current clientele who have not transferred their files to another facility and whose animals are a patient of our practice that has been examined by one of our doctors in the past 24 months.
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Egan Fife Animal Hospital