Did you know that our furry friends suffer from many of the same obesity related diseases that we do? From osteoarthritis to type II diabetes, a number of conditions could have been avoided or delayed had our pets stayed in a healthier weight range.
Pets are considered overweight when their weight is 15 percent or more above ideal and obese when their weight is 30 percent or more above ideal. Your veterinarian can assess your pet’s body condition and gauge if weight loss is necessary — and work with you to develop a strategy if your pet needs to drop a few pounds.
Obesity is serious. It can lead to cardiovascular disease, constipation (mostly in cats), skin diseases, insulin resistance (leading to diabetes), joint stress, and painful osteoarthritis.
High blood pressure is often seen in animals that are obese or overweight and can lead to other secondary complications, such as kidney and eye diseases. Respiratory distress and exercise intolerance is commonly seen in pets carrying extra pounds. More conditions can develop from obesity such as lower urinary tract disease and bladder stones. Ultimately, obesity shortens a pet’s life.
So what can we do about it as pet owners? How do you keep our pets fit?
Step one: Find out how overweight your pet is by visiting your veterinarian. If your pet is on medication, ask about the best approach to weight loss.
Step two: Shut off the endless food supply. Don’t starve them, but limit food intake. Ask what amount to feed and stick with the program. Ask about prescription diets available to make weight loss easier on your pet.
Step three: Treats are not a daily necessity. Treats are an occasional reward.
Step four: All pets need exercise and so do we. Indoor cats are a special challenge. They use their full quota of sleeping daily, plus some. Cats can learn to play catch, and can learn to do many more things than we realize. The trick is finding what they like and challenging them to move. Things that dangle in the air, laser pointers, and other cat toys will tempt their curiosity. Cats like to chase and catch things. They even like to chase us!
Pet obesity can definitely be a family affair. It takes a family team working together to get lean and stay healthy!
Bottom line — a lean pet is a healthy pet. Good nutrition, exercise, and preventative care can greatly extend the life of your pet.
Stay trim/Stay healthy
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Cats Exclusively Veterinary Hospital 1311 Marsh Road Pittsford NY 14534 (585)248-9590 Updated for July 2017