Just like people, when a dog or cat is overweight it places extra demands on all their organs. As humans, we watch our food intake and often have no choice but to incorporate some form of exercise to our daily routines.
Our pets however don’t have the capacity to control what they eat. They need us to do that for them. Fortunately this allows us to be far more conscientious in helping them achieve their optimal weight.
Just like humans, some pets are far more prone to weight gain than others, despite them being on rigid diet plans. If we feed them treats and do not reduce their meals, it won’t be long before their “hips won’t lie”. Some pets, given the opportunity can literally eat all day, so owners should try to ensure that their food intake is correctly calculated by your vet/nurse, and that their dietary plans coincide with a “walk your dog” daily exercise routine.
But what is obesity in pets, many of us are not really sure if our pet is over weight? For humans, a simple Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation allows us a painful yet vital perspective in terms of how far we may need to go via that weight watching/banting rabbit-hole. Our pets however come in all types of breeds, body shapes and sizes, and though optimal weights have been agreed upon for most breeds, how does one judge the optimal weight of a cross breed.
The risks of having an overweight pet means the risk of your pet having a negative energy balance. This could ultimately lead to various chronic inflammation, a decrease in immunity, osteoarthritis, respiratory conditions, shortened life expectancy and certain skin conditions.
If you have consulted with your veterinary professional, that’s a great start, however there are some quick and simple ways to get your pet back into shape.
It is vital to have your pet assessed by your veterinary practice and checked up on every 4-6 weeks.
So the next time you feel guilty for not sharing your treat, remember, you are responsible for your pets’ health. Take them for a walk instead.