Obesity in pets
JUST like in the human population, obseity is one of the most common health problems we see in our companion animals.
However, despite the large numbers of obese animals in the general population, pet owners are not often aware that their pet has a weight issue.
This is due to the fact that many people may have a preconceived idea of what their dog or cat’s breed normally looks like.
However, this is frequently a misconception as it does not align to their pet’s ideal body condition.
As with humans, there is considerable variation in an animal’s body shape and size, even within the same breed, so it is difficult to list an ideal weight for any individual.
Your pet’s optimal body condition is determined by examining the ratio between muscle and fat on their frame.
Generally an ideal body condition in dogs and cats includes being able to see their waist, feel their ribs easily with a little bit of fat covering them, with the abdomen tucked up underneath the body and not sagging toward the ground.
Obesity in companion animals is linked to many other diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and arthritis, so it is important that obese animals have their weight managed.
The most common reason for weight gain is due to an excessive energy intake – ie feeding too much! Even very active dogs can become overweight, if their meals are too large.
Hence feeding an appropriate portion of a good quality pet food is important for your pets health and wellbeing.
Feeding guides on packs of food are a good place to begin, but as stated, they are only a “guide”!
If you have an overweight pet with other health issues, determining an appropriate food and portion size can be achieved with consultation with your vet.
Remember, if you want to keep track of your animal’s weight, you can pop in to your local vet clinic and use the scales anytime.