Weight Management

posted: by: Willowdale Veterinary Center Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Weight Management and Obesity is a growing concern for pets with about 40% of pets being overweight but only 17% of pet owners acknowledge that their pet is overweight. A couple pounds for your furry friend can be equivalent to many more pounds for you in percentage gained. For example a 70 pound Golden Retriever gaining 8 pounds is like the average person gaining 14 pounds, 30 pound Beagle gaining 5 pounds is like a person gaining 21 pounds and a 4 pound Chihuahua gaining one pound is like a person gaining 31 pounds! A pound or two doesn't seem like a lot but it adds up fast.

So why is a couple extra pounds such a big deal? Obesity is a disease and can cause many health problems and/or risks for your loved ones.

These include, but not limited to:
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis and Joint disorders
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood pressure
  • Skin and grooming issues
These diseases are much better to be prevented than treated and/or managed. There are many things you can do to help a pet maintain a healthy weight.

First, controlled feeding, such as feeding twice a day and measuring how much you feed versus leave down food or self feeders. This is a good way to monitor the intake of your pet and is easy to adjust from there based on how much weight your pet is losing/gaining.

Second is to cut out table scrapes. Dogs and cats in general need much fewer calories than the average person and table food tends to have a larger amount of calories, ect. then pet food. A good example of this is a single 1 oz serving of Cheddar cheese for a 20 pound dog is like a person eating two and a half hamburgers and for a 10 pound cat that is like three and a half hamburgers for a person! Even a lot of commercial dog treats are unhealthy for pet. For healthy snacks that you can feed your pet, you can use a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, apples and green beans or health cereals such as Cheerios, but avoid feeding grapes as they have the possibility to cause kidney issues.

The third way you can help your pet maintain a healthy weight is to increase there activity level. For dogs, you can take them for longer walks, take them to an area they can run/swim and increase the time you play with them such as fetch ect. For cats you can place there food on counters to make them jump for it, and play with them using toys or a laser light or flashlight. Many cats could happily spend a long time chasing a laser light or chasing a toy.

After working hard to get your pet to lose weight you may ask "How do I know what is a good weight is and what should they look like?"

A good way to tell if your pet is at a good weight is you should be able to feel there ribs easily under a slight fat cover, abdomen should tuck up, and at an overhead view they should have a well proportioned waist. An overweight dog or cat would have ribs that are difficult to feel under moderate or thick fat, may have fat rolls around the neck or tail base, abdomen doesn't tuck up and from overhead they have no waist and back may be broadened. You can consult with your Veterinarian for an assessment of your pets weight and further suggestions, and you can bring your animal in just to weigh him/her to help monitor. Your Veterinarian can give you a good ideal weight to aim for and/or maintain.

For any further information or questions you may call us at (904)-269-8866 or visit www.myVet.com