Obesity in Pets
Over half of today’s pets are overweight. It is a trend that we are seeing more often at the vet clinic as the years go by. Weight can be an awkward conversation to have with pet people. Chunkiness in dogs and cats is often seen as an endearing look and we all tend to love our pets by giving them treats and good things to eat. We, as veterinarians, are not trying to offend anyone by bringing awareness to weight but are trying to be your pet’s advocate for the future in order to prevent the myriad of diseases that are linked with obesity. Recently we posted the top ten conditions related to obesity in both cats and dogs on our facebook page. The most commonly diagnosed diseases secondary to being overweight are osteoarthritis, diabetes, urinary tract disease/cystitis, hepatitis/liver disease, heart failure, asthma, and kidney disease. Many of these illnesses are preventable with weight management.
How do you know if your pet is overweight?
Most veterinarians will do a body condition score of your pet at each visit. These assessments will put your pet into a category of under-weight, ideal weight, over-weight, and obese. See the chart below. Based on the body condition score, your veterinarian will make a recommendation regarding exercise and diet.
How do you get your pet to lose weight?
It is best to consult with your veterinarian about what methods will work best for your pet’s weight loss journey. Certain health conditions may restrict exercise or diet changes that can aid in weight loss. Weight loss techniques that we typically discuss with our clients are measuring the amount of food that is given daily, reducing the quantity of treats that are fed, increasing the amount of exercise that your pet gets, and sometimes switching to a lower calorie food or prescription diet. Again, it is necessary to speak with your veterinarian because they will be able to best guide your journey based on your pet’s specific needs.
Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own. Call us today if your pet needs a weight loss intervention, 217-529-4499!