WHAT IS OBESITY?
Obesity is one of the most common nutritional disorders in our pets today and close to 60% of all dogs are overweight and 40% of cats are obese. Your pet is considered obese when it is 15% over its optimal weight. It occurs when there is excess caloric intake and reduced physical activity. Eating too much is partly the result of the attractive taste of today’s commercial pet foods; however, the major cause is supplementation with table scraps, snacks and other foods. The obese pet responds to particularly good tasting food by eating beyond its requirements. Reduced physical activity or exercise that is not matched by reduction of calories eaten contributes to obesity, as does eating when bored or idle. Over feeding puppies predisposes them to obesity as adults by increasing their number of fat cells. Allowing them to become obese during growth will often plague them with obesity throughout life.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Obesity can predispose your pet to the following medical conditions:
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Respiratory distress
- High blood pressure
- Digestive disorders
- Skin diseases
- Liver disease
- Heat stress
- Increased risk during surgery and anaesthesia
- Musculoskeletal diseases
This is why it becomes extremely important that we treat our pets for obesity. With these related medical conditions our beloved pets live shorter and more uncomfortable lives.
There are four main contributing factors in your pet’s overweight or obese conditions:
- Over eating
- Poor quality of incorrect food
- Insufficient exercise
- Medical conditions (such as Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism)
HOW DO I TREAT MY OVERWEIGHT/OBESE PET?
As pet owners we control what they eat, how much they eat, when they exercise, and ultimately, their weight. By far the most important part of a successful weight reduction program is that every member of the family is certain of the necessity of the weight reduction. Your total commitment to achieving the weight loss is necessary; otherwise, the effort may result in frustration, wasted time, energy and resources. It is essential that everyone cooperate to reach the agreed upon goal. So no more table scraps are to “accidentally” fall off the table. Which means as a beloved pet owner it takes time and patience as this is a gradual long term process to get your pudgy pooch or fat cat to reach their optimal weight.
It is very important to be honest during any weight loss process. Your pet loosing its love handles is solely based on you, in the form of “owner compliance”. By stopping the yummy treats does not mean you do not love your pet, but rather that you want them to have a longer, more comfortable life.