Pet obesity is currently one of the top health concerns for our pets, and a quick assessment of optimal body weight could be the start to lengthening your pet's life. Here are some tips to tell if your pet tips the scale, and what to do about it.
Working with your vet to rule out other medical problems is the first step. While some drugs and some disease conditions (i.e. hypothyroidism) may cause a pet to be overweight, more often obesity is caused by overfeeding and high calorie foods. Your vet will help you devise a diet and exercise plan for your pet to get on the track to health and fitness.
1. Pet has lost his/her "figure"
Your pet may have a haircoat the prevents easy viewing, but gently running your hands along the top outline of your pet should reveal these natural curves.
2. You can no longer feel your pet's ribs
3. Your pet is constantly searching for food/begging for treats
Offering low-calorie treats helps reduce some of the cravings without adding on the pounds. Raw carrots are a great alternative if your pet will eat them. Stay away from foods such grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts.
4. Your pet is uninterested in, or unable to exercise and keep up with you
Carrying extra body weight can lead to extra pressure on the joints (arthritis), heart, and lungs.
Additionally, other organs, such as liver and pancreas can be affected; leading to diseases such as Fatty Liver (cats) and Diabetes Mellitus (dogs, cats and humans). Cancer is also a risk factor with obesity.
5. Your pet suffers more from the summer heat than other animals
6. Your pet is deemed to be at greater risk for anesthesia and surgery
If the pet is undergoing a surgical procedure in the abdomen, the increased layers of fat make surgery more difficult; it is harder to visualize organs and other tissue, to securely ligate (tie off) vessels, and to close the incision working with extra layers of fat.
7. Support Tools For Healthier PetsHere are some "support tools" from the Hill's site -- learn how to compare calories, compare pet weight gain to humans, questions to print out for a discussion with your veterinarian, and other healthy tips and tools.
Pet Weight Loss and Fitness Support Tools