My Pet Was Diagnosed with Obesity
Pet’s are more than just pets to their owners; they are family. Owners must be good stewards to their furry family members since it is their duty to protect them. As family members, our pets are sometimes subject to a few attributes that some of our actual family members suffer from, obesity. Obesity is a common and current issue that many of our beloved pets suffer from. 52.6% of dogs and 57.6% of cats in the United States are obese or overweight. Packing on the pounds is easy too, taking them off not so much! Approximately 68% of U.S. households own at least one pet, while 68% of adult Americans are overweight or obese. Both cats and dogs are affected by weight issues and there are many variables that may be causing the issue. There are many health risk and disease processess that can be attributed to obesity in pets such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart and Respiratory Disease
- Cruciate Ligament Injury
- Kidney Disease
- Decreased life expectancy up to 2 1/5 years.
Home is the first factor that should be assessed when questioning if the pet has a weight issue. What is the pet eating? How much and how often? Are they getting snacks & treats? How much exercise are they receiving? These are all good questions in which you ne4ed to be open and honest with your veterinarian when addressing obesity in your pet. Nutrition plays a very large role in many pets weight issues. We all love our pets and want them to feel that love, but we don’t need to always show that love by giving them treats. Talking to your veterinarian about your individual pet’s nutritional needs at home is a great start to keeping your pet happy and healthy. Treats are okay but need to be monitored and accounted for closely and not given in excess. Keeping a log of each food item your pet is given in a day is a great way to maintain a healthy weight for your pet. Keeping food logs also provides great information for our veterinarians when dealing with pet obesity. We have included links at the end of this page that shows proper weights by breed, calories in common dog treats, along with other helpful information.
Previously, we have discussed how weight can play roles into other more serious health issues. There are many ways our veterinarians can help your pet with weight issues besides normal diet and exercise at home. We have resources that even include prescription foods that may help your pet in shedding the pounds. Certainly, there are times where the weight problem may stem from more that just a bit too much to eat.
Examinations and bloodwork, if recommended by your veterinarian, can help determine if there are any possible underlying issues that your pet might not outwardly be showing. Regular visits to your vet can greatly help in early detection and diagnosis of other more serious problems. Even simple aging issues, like arthritis, can play a role into your pet putting on a few extra pounds. This is a simple and common occurrence that can be managed through medications and exercise, which can help get your furry friend back into shape!
There is always hope when working with your veterinarian to help your pet live a healthy life style. Remember, before putting your pet on any type of diet always consult your veterinarian. Transitioning your pet properly to a new diet is always the first key to success. Never switch your pet to a new diet cold turkey. This may cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea. If planning to put your feline family member on a diet, check with your veterinarian first! Cats bodies are different than dogs, and when deprived to quickly of protein they can develop a condition called Hepatic Lipidosis. This is why it is very important to discuss diets with your veterinarian first. Remember it is your duty, and ours, to keep your pet happy and healthy.
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