Spoiling our pets is one of the best parts of owning one. Going to the doggy bakery and picking out cute cookies and bones for birthdays and milestones is fun and rewarding to both parties involved! And here in the Summerville, SC area we have so many amazing pet boutiques. However, spoiling our pets with high calorie treats regularly can set them up for health concerns down the road.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 60% of cats and 56% of dogs were classified as overweight or obese in 2018.
Just like with humans, our pets can suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease all related to their weight. Obesity also affects major organs such as the kidneys, liver, and respiratory system, as well as increases our pets’ risk for developing certain diseases like diabetes, hypothyroidism, and cancer. Pets can also experience physical pain in the form of arthritis when they are overweight causing lameness and ligament damage.
Obesity is measured on a Body Condition Scoring System ranking your pet on a scale from 1 to 9, with 4 or 5 being the “ideal” body condition. An ideal body condition for a pet is being able to just feel the ribs, but not see them, and having a nice, tucked waistline. One through 3 are considered “too thin”, meaning the pets’ ribs, spine, and/or hip bones are prominent and noticeable. Six through 9 are considered “too heavy” or obese, meaning that the pets’ ribs are covered with a layer of fat, waist may be noticeable from above or not at all, and other areas of the body, such as the tail and neck, may have increased fat deposits. When deciding how much to feed your pet, it is important to remember to feed to body condition and not weight itself.
If your pet is obese there are ways to help them achieve a healthy weight. There are many diets available, both over the counter and veterinarian prescribed, that help with weight loss by restricting calorie intake. It is also important to be sure you are not overfeeding. A lot of pet owners don’t realize they are overfeeding their pets, and it can be difficult to refrain from giving the yummy table scraps and treats. Here at Cane Bay Vet Clinic our staff is well versed in diets and would be happy to discuss options with you!
Diet combined with daily exercise is often all it takes to help your pet achieve a healthy weight. However, sometimes there may be an underlying issue, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease, that prevents your pet from losing weight. If you are having trouble getting those pesky pounds off your pet, consult with Dr. Hill and Dr. Turick to determine if blood work may be warranted.
Keeping your pet at an ideal weight not only helps keep numerous health issues at bay but can prolong their life by an average of 1.8 years. And who doesn’t want some extra quality time with their favorite furry friend?! If you have questions about your pet’s weight or diet Cane Bay Vet Clinic would love to help you out!