You may carefully manage your own weight, but how often do you consider the weight of your pet? Estimates suggest that around 1 in 3 pets in the United States are currently overweight or obese, - something which can have serious consequences for their health.
Like us, pets need to maintain a healthy weight in order to ensure all of their body systems are functioning optimally and for them to have the best chance of living a long, happy and active life. Unfortunately, it is very easy for them to gain weight and all too often, this happens so gradually that we don’t notice until they have gained a significant amount.
Why Weight Management in Pets is Important
Obesity is a major contributor to the development of many health problems in humans, and the same can be said for your pet. In fact, being just 20% overweight can massively increase the risk of your pet developing serious health conditions – including diabetes, heart disease, urinary stones, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Obesity has also been shown to reduce the life expectancy in animals by up to several years.
We understand how important your pet is to you, and we offer a weight management service which helps to ensure that your furbaby maintains a healthy size so that their health is not compromised in any way.
Why has my Pet Gained Weight?
Although there are a number of factors that can contribute to weight gain in animals, the truth is that most weight gain is attributed to eating too much and moving too little. If your pet isn’t eating the right diet or receiving the right amount of exercise, it could cause them to put on too much weight. As animals get older, the natural slowing of their metabolism and their inability to exercise as much means that weight gain is more likely. Some breeds are also more prone to putting on weight than others.
Although rare, sometimes excess weight is a result of a medical problem. In these instances, it will be necessary to treat the underlying cause, rather than just trying to reduce your pet’s weight.
Signs of Obesity in Pets
It can be fairly tricky to notice that your pet has gained weight. One of the best ways is to check to see if you can feel their ribs. If they are hard or impossible to feel, it is very likely that they are overweight. Other common signs of excess weight gain include:
- Needing to loosen your pet’s collar
- No obvious waist
- Difficulty walking
- Reluctance to exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Slow movements
- Sleeping more than usual
If you are concerned that your pet may be overweight, we recommend that you seek the advice of our team as soon as you are able so that we can make a recommendation before your pet’s health is adversely affected.
What Does Pet Weight Management Involve?
Every pet that we see is unique and has individual requirements. Therefore, each pet weight management plan is tailored to the specific needs of your animal. Nevertheless, we can offer support in a range of areas:
- Education on choosing the right diet for your pet.
- Advice on giving treats / sharing human foods.
- Regular reviews of your pet and their diet, which is important as nutritional requirements for animals can change over time.
- Advice on exercises that you can do with your pet to improve their mobility and help keep their weight under control.
- Information about specific products and tools that may help your pet to lose excess weight.
- Regular assessments of your pet’s health so that we can see the positive impact that weight loss if having on their wellbeing.
Your pet’s weight management plan will be discussed with you at length before getting started.
If you have any questions about pet weight management, or if you would like to arrange for your pet to be evaluated by our experienced and professional team, please contact Country Doctor Veterinary Clinic in Jefferson, OH today.