Weight Loss and Your Pet.
New Year’s Resolutions – Weight Loss and Your Pet.
It is estimated that approximately 40% of pets in the UK are overweight. This means that they are eating more calories than they need for the amount of exercise they take.
Consequences of being overweight
Excess weight can affect both an animal’s health and welfare. As a practice we see many animals suffering from arthritis, a condition which is exacerbated by too much weight on the joints. Many disease processes are worsened or even predisposed by being overweight such as heart disease, respiratory problems, urinary disorders, skin conditions and diabetes. Anaesthetic complications are also higher in overweight animals.
How to tell if your pet is overweight
The best way to tell if your pet is overweight is to bring it to the surgery to be weighed. We have a chart of ideal weights for many dog breeds and can estimate a weight for cross breeds. You can also gain an idea of whether an animal is overweight by looking at the ribs and waist. The ribs should only have a thin covering of fat and therefore by easy to feel. Pets should have a defined waist between the ribs and pelvis.
Weight loss strategies
Diet and exercise are the key to weight loss. It can be difficult to implement a strict diet if your pet feels hungry and pesters you for food. However, pet food companies now produce a variety of foods that help animals to lose weight by making them feel full without too many calories. Treats and table scraps must be avoided and food should be weighed out to ensure the animal is not receiving too much. Exercise is also important, regular walks, playing with toys and hydrotherapy sessions are all useful. Encouraging cats to exercise can be challenging but toys which mimic predator prey behaviour are useful.
Prevention is better than cure
It is important to cut down your pet’s food after they have been neutered as they require fewer calories.
Free Weight Clinics
We recognise that trying to get your pet to lose weight is no easy task and so we run free weight clinics to give advice tailored to your pet’s needs. These clinics are run (both at the Hornsea and Beverley surgeries) by one of our fully qualified veterinary nurses, Amie, who will be pleased to assist you.
Please contact the surgery to sign up for this service and let us support your pet’s weight loss.