Obesity of Our Cats and Dogs
We tend to feed our animals like we feed ourselves. Consequently, it is not surprising that 40% of our cats and dogs are overweight or obese. Obesity is a medical condition predisposing the animal to a number of health issues.
Which factors increase my animal’s chances of being overweight?
- Free feeding your animal (giving as much food as it wants)
- Giving an amount of food without measuring it
- Too many treats or treats that are too rich
- Your animal’s lifestyle (indoor vs outdoor cat, dog who hardly goes out for walks)
- Gender: female are more likely to suffer from obesity
- Neutering: decreases your pet’s metabolism
- Certain diseases: for example, hypothyroidism in the dog decreases the metabolism, increasing the risk for weight gain
Which medical conditions are consequences of obesity?
- Increased anesthetic risk (because of poor ventilation)
- Heart problems
- Poor immune reactions
- Pancreatitis predisposition
- Heat and exercise intolerance
- Fatty liver syndrome for cats (an accumulation of fat in the liver)
- Premature joint problems
- Skin infections
- Premature death
What are certain weight loss strategies I can try with my animal?
- Precisely calculate the daily amount of food your animal should receive (we can help you determine that amount!). Do not permit free access to food!
- Offer a small number of light treats. (if your animal is used to getting a lot of treats at specific times, start by giving him half-size treats at the same periods then you can try to cut down on the frequency)
- Consider a weight loss diet: Medical’s Calorie Control™ or Purina’s OM™ are very good choices we offer. We will calculate the amount needed by your dog and help you throughout his diet.
- Make time to walk your dog and play with your cat daily.It’s also good for you!
- For dogs, a medication, Slentrol™ (Pfizer), may be prescribed to help with your animal’s weight loss (it “tells” the animal’s hunger center that it is full, thus reducing the amount of food that is ingested)
- Most of all, the best way for anyone to stay focused throughout a diet is to be encouraged: monthly weight-ins at our hospital, supervised by a technician, will keep you motivated and help you adjust your animal’s diet regimen. We are there to help you and your animal!