Is your pet at a healthy weight?
If Fido is looking rotund and Muffy the cat is carrying a paunch that nearly touches the floor when she walks, then your pets are part of a worrisome trend – pet obesity.
A 2012 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats to be overweight or obese by their veterinarian. “That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats at increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers,” the association said.
Many pet owners are not aware or deny that their pet is becoming overweight, says Dr. Joe Bartges, veterinary nutritionist and internal medicine specialist at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “In this survey, approximately 45 percent of cat and dog owners assessed their pet as having a normal body weight when the veterinarian assessed the pet to be overweight.”
Similar to child obesity, pets are being fed high-calorie diets with limited exercise. Keeping your pets at a healthy weight is easier than trying to shed the pounds later. Obesity can lead to health problems such as:
- Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart and Respiratory Disease
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
- Kidney Disease
- Many forms of Cancer
- Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)
It’s best to have your pets checked by your veterinarian at least once a year. If your veterinarian assesses your cat or dog as overweight, take immediate action to help the issue.
Tips for helping your dog loose weight:
- Gradually add a new diet over a period of one week, introducing a new diet that is lower in calories.
- Enhance the new diet by warming the food, or adding herbs such as oregano or garlic, or drizzle salmon juice over the food to add an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
- Exercise! Briskly walking your dog and limiting the times to stop and “smell the roses” is best.
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Tips for helping your cat loose weight:
- Gradually transition to a lower calorie diet. Canned foods are much lower in calories than dry diets. The average household cat should eat more protein than carbohydrates.
- Spice up the new diet by warming their food or adding supplements such as salmon juice.
- Find creative ways to get your cat moving. Use feather toys, balls, paper bags, lights, food puzzles, or whatever may interest your cat to get them moving for at least ten minutes twice a day.
To find more helpful tips, visit: http://bit.ly/16qDC9C
For more information on pet obesity, please visit: http://www.petobesityprevention.com.
At PenBay Vets we help our clients with food choices and calculating safe amounts to feed to bring about weight loss. Choosing an appropriate food can make a big difference in accomplishing weight loss, as there is a large variation in the amount of calories found in different foods.