By Emma Mc Loughlin, Veterinary Surgeon.
- Is obesity a problem for pets?
Yes. Studies have shown that 65% of dogs and 39% of cats are overweight. That is a staggering 50% of our pets that are putting on too much weight. Obesity is a disease and its very important to treat it so we can keep our pets happy and healthy.
- What are the risk factors for obesity?
- Breed – some breeds are predisposed to obesity. Examples include Labradors, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Dalmatians, Golden retrievers, rottweilers. Mixed breeds are at risk too.
- Lifestyle – pets living a more sedentary lifestyle or pets who are exercising less are more likely to gain weight. For example, indoor cats or older dogs.
- Neutering – pets metabolism changes within 48 hours of being neutered, slowing down their metabolic rate and making them more likely to gain weight, if we do not adjust their feeding in line with these changes.
- Overfeeding – pets who are fed too much food or excessive treats will gain weight.
- What are the effects of obesity on pets?
Excess fat is not just a cosmetic problem – fat is metabolically active and promotes inflammation. Obesity can also increase the risk of pancreatitis, tracheal collapse, cruciate disease, hip dysplasia, endocrine disease etc. It can increase the severity of problems such as OA, cardiac disease and diabetes. Weight management should be part of a multifactorial approach to the treatment of many conditions. It is important to consider that keeping pets at an ideal weight will keep them in better general health, and therefore decrease vet bills!
- How do I know if my pet is obese?
Your vet or veterinary nurse can advise you on your pet’s weight using a system called ‘Body Condition Scoring’ (BCS). Each pet has their own individual ideal weight. Feel free to call in to our clinics for free BCS of your pet.
- How do I tackle my pets obesity?
We would recommend you to attend our TransPAWmation weight loss clinics, now happening in each of our Rockhall clinics. These clinics are run by our team Emma (Veterinary Surgeon) and Naomi (Registered Veterinary Nurse), to ensure that pets lose weight at a healthy rate and reach their target weight safely.
Other things you can do from home are increase exercise, reduce treats and scraps and make sure you are feeding the recommended daily amount of dog food to your pet – the back of your bag of dog food should have a guideline table.
- What is involved in a weight clinic?
We take your pets weight, BCS and measurements. We discuss your pets current eating habits and have a conversation about their lifestyle. Then we make a plan together for a healthy eating regime and exercise routine. We do regular follow ups with you and your pet to monitor their weight loss. Our TransPAWmation weight clinics are based on Satiety diet which are specially formulated for weight loss while maintaining good general health.
- Why is a weight loss diet better than reducing food at home?
The Royal Canin Satiety diet ensures that your pet achieves healthy steady weight loss while ensuring muscle mass maintenance. It reduces begging behaviour because it is high in natural fibre, keeping them fuller for longer. Reducing food at home runs a higher risk of your pets weight loss being too slow, or too fast, or of your pet being hungrier between meals. Also when we just cut portions we are cutting valuable nutrients and minerals too. We need to make sure your pet is receiving a balanced diet. Remember home prepared diets actually cost more in financial terms and in time.
- Can you give me some helpful tips for my pets weight loss?
Instead of giving your pets treats when they beg, try grooming them, walking them or playing with them. Use interactive feeders to slow down eating. Weigh food accurately, and mark it on your measuring cup, check your pets BCS & weight regularly and adjust your feeding level accordingly.
Increase your pets exercise appropriately.
- What benefits will my pet get from losing weight?
Increased quality of life – a weight loss of as little as 6% bodyweight can show an increase in quality of life.
Increased lifespan – studies have shown that your pet may life for up to two years longer if they maintain an ideal weight.
Lower risk of disease – obesity has been linked to more than 20 diseases!
Better mobility and posture
More playful and sociable
Healthcare and medication costs reduced
Happier and healthier
- What is the first step to take to ensure my pet gets to an ideal weight?
Call us at any of our Rockhall clinics for a BCS check, or an appointment for our TransPAWmation clinics! Call us today 061415104/061333033/061314203, and ask to speak to Naomi or Emma.
Any questions? Contact Naomi, Naomi did her dissertation on Pet Obesity.