In the new year, some of us make resolutions for ourselves. But what about our pets? Now is a good time to have your pets weight evaluated and work on trimming down for the spring.
Your pets’ weight is one of the most important things we can monitor throughout our pets lives. Maintaining our pet’s ideal weight is a simple and inexpensive ways we can prevent many health problems in life. It’s a way we can ensure our pets live a comfortable, and long life.
Today veterinarians are finding a large increase in overweight or obese pets, more now then ever. Weight gain is usually associated with an increase of calories consumed, combined with a lack of exercise. A few extra pounds gained for a person may not be very significant; however, for pets, weight gain can mean major health risks and even a shorter life span.
Obesity can cause the same health problems in pets as it does in people such as: diabetes, joint problems, lower urinary tract disease in felines, strain on kidneys, heart and liver, and they can be at a higher risk of complications during procedures which require anesthetic.
A question you may ask is, “How do I know if my pet is becoming over weight?”
You should be able to feel their ribs under a thin layer of fat, but not be able to see them. They should have an hourglass figure when viewed from above, and their abdomen should be tucked up under their rib cage.
If you believe your pet is, or is at risk of becoming overweight, the most important thing to do is to book an appointment with your veterinarian. There could be a medical reason for your pets’ weight gain and this must be ruled out before starting your pet on a diet. It is very important to never start your pet on a diet before consulting with your veterinarian. We need to change their eating and exercising habits gradually.
A calculation is used to determine the appropriate amount of calories your pet needs to consume in a day. A diet is chosen for your pet based on the amount of weight your pet needs to loose, whether or not they like the food, and whether it works with your pet’s metabolism. Your pets’ weight needs to be monitored closely by weighing them monthly. Once your pet has reached his or her weight loss goal, we can then gradually change them to a weight maintenance diet.
Remember, an overweight pet is not a healthy pet. They don’t gain the weight overnight; therefore we can’t expect them to loose the weight overnight. Together with the help of your veterinarian, patience and perseverance you can achieve your pet’s weight loss goal.
Written by Ashley Docherty Registered Veterinary Technician & Practice Manager at the Bloor Animal Hospital
2387 Bloor St West