Dear Vicki, My dog, Scotty, has gained a few pounds recently. How can I help him get back down to a healthier weight without him getting hungry? Well done for noticing Scotty’s weight gain, as being overweight reduces a pet’s quality of life and increases the risk of developing weight-related diseases.
Firstly, take Scotty to your vet for a healthcheck to make sure there are no underlying medical causes. They will also advise on how much food and exercise he needs. Weighing food, rather than measuring with a cup, will help ensure he gets just the right amount of food to lose weight while keeping his hunger satisfied – an inexpensive set of kitchen scales is ideal for this.
You’ll also need to cut out any treats or scraps Scotty is usually fed.
Lots of veterinary practices offer free weight-loss clinics, so it is well worth taking advantage of these. Dear Vicki, My 10-year-old black cat, Sweep, has always been fit and healthy but just lately he has been losing a lot of weight even though he eats well. Is it just old age or could there be something wrong with him?
Common causes of weight loss in cats, despite a good appetite, include hormonal conditions (such as an over-active thyroid gland) or organ problems (such as kidney or liver disease). You should take Sweep to your vet to be examined as soon as possible.
Your vet may need to take a blood or urine sample to help make the diagnosis, as well as give Sweep a thorough examination.
Once a diagnosis is made, it is possible to manage these diseases with daily medication.