Did you know that Obesity is the most common disease seen in our pets?
In Australia it is estimated that more than 40% of our pet population is overweight!
Excess fat in our furry friends can pose serious health risks as our pet’s metabolism works significantly differently to ours.
As tempting as it is to treat your best friend every time they give you “puppy-dog-eyes”, it is better for their long-term health and well-being to limit their food-related luxuries.
Health Risks Associated with Obesity
Pets that are overweight may be prone to the following health risks:
- Reduced mobility
- Joint issues including early onset arthritis (in overweight, young patients), joint instability or dysplasia.
- Pressure sores
- Skin sensitivities
- Skin infections
- Great strain on vital organs including the heart, lungs, liver and pancreas
- Greater risk of heart disease, renal insufficiency and pancreatitis
- Reduced quality of life
- Reduced life span
- Other behavioural issues
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Reproductive disorders
Nutrition and Obesity
Some breeds may be predisposed to becoming overweight as they grow and age. As pet owners we are responsible for our pet’s weight and should be aware and help control any weight gain to ensure they remain healthy and happy throughout their life.
Lifestyle plays a huge role in a pet’s ability to maintain a healthy weight.
Some pets are more active than others and so are able to burn calories without much effort. Others prefer taking a nap or having a sunbathe before going for a walk or playing.
Pets that are not as active generally will not require as many calories.
Knowing how much to feed your pet can be confusing but most pet foods will have a daily recommended intake that can aid in correctly rationing your pets daily feed and reduce the likelihood of over or under feeding.
If you are feeding your pet their daily recommended diet as well as the occasional (or consistent) treat, you need to be adjusting their daily ration of food to accommodate for the added calories.
Receiving a treat on top of their daily intake of food means they’re eating more calories than they need which over time can result in significant weight gain.
Treats are a fun part of being pet owner!
We’re not saying you can’t give treats to your pets, we’re just saying you need to be conscious of how many you give and what you’re doing about the extra calorie intake.
In moderation, treats are a great way to aid in training as well as relationship building. We just need to be mindful in adjusting their food ration to accommodate.
Alternatively, you may want to consider low calorie treats such as Royal Canin EDUC or Hills Science Diet Metabolic treats. These treats are formulated, low calorie options that your furry friend will love and that you can feed without feeling guilty!
Body Condition Scoring
Check out the following charts to see where your dog or cat sits.
When body scoring, the ideal weight of a pet should sit between a 4-5 with anything below a 4 being classified as underweight, and anything over a 5 being classified as overweight.
If you have any concerns about your pets weight or if you suspect they may be overweight, give us a call to discuss the Lynbrook Vet Weight Loss Program for tips, tricks and advice to help your pet’s lose weight and maintain it!