Did you know that nearly 50% of all our pets are overweight or obese? Keeping your pet slim and in good shape , can extend their life expectancy by up to 2 years and allows them to play, run and generally lead a happier life.
Why is it so important to keep my dog or cat trim?
At one time it was thought that fat tissue just sat around storing excess calories and adding to body mass. However, scientific studies have shown that fat tissue can be biologically active, producing inflammatory hormones and causing oxidative stress on the body, this in turn contributes to many disease processes such as: cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc and can lead to psychological depression.
What do I do if I think my pet is overweight?
People have different ideas as to what ‘normal’ is, fortunately there are guidelines that can help us establish to what extent your pet is over weight.
• you should be able to feel your pets ribs – hold your hand palm down and feel the knuckles with flat fingers of the other hand, this is how your dogs ribs should feel behind the shoulder blades. This goes for cats too.
• your vet can accurately weigh and measure your pet in order to establish where your pet sits on the body conditioning charts. This is important as it helps us monitor progress during weight loss.
Feed the right food , in the right quantity, at the right time.
• reducing the quantity of food your pet normally eats probably wont help with weight loss and could lead to nutritional deficiencies.
• listen to your vet – use a food that is specifically design to aide weight loss ( there are many available) and stick to it!
• don’t be tempted to give treats or feed more than is recommended. Most weight loss diets will not leave your pet hungry- so don’t be fooled.
• allowing unlimited access to food is the most common cause of obesity in cats. Have specific feeding times and remove food that is not eaten.
Join a slimming plan!
• many of the food companies have a slimming plan that gives help and encouragement to pet owners whose animals are on weight reducing foods. Most practices are involved in one or more of the programmes and can register you on the websites. They are great for keeping an accurate record of your pets progress and most companies will send you freebies for all your hard work!
In for the long haul….
Weight loss doesn’t happen over night, it is a long process that needs commitment from you the owner, particularly when things are going slowly.
We all love our companion animals and want them to have a happy, healthy and long life. By taking the first steps to help your overweight pet you are being a responsible owner.
Don’t kill them with kindness!
Help them enjoy life!
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