Time to shed those extra inches
A new year resolution for you and your pet?
New year is often a trigger for we humans to do something about the extra weight we’re carrying around. But what about our pets? Obesity among our fourlegged friends is all too common and poses the same health risks to them as it does to us.
But how do you tell if your cat or dog is overweight? To check your dog, you should be able to see and feel the outline of his ribs without excess fat covering them. You should also be able to see and feel your dog’s waist. It should be clearly visible when viewed from above and his belly should tuck up into his back legs when viewed from the side, not appear as a straight line or, worse, a paunch.
To check if your cat is overweight, you should be able to see and feel your cat’s ribs, spine and hip bones. Like a dog’s, his waist should be clearly visible when viewed from above and his belly shouldn’t sag underneath. There should only be a small amount of belly fat.
Why does it matter? Obesity can be extremely disabling, preventing cats and dogs from exercising normally, and can cause diabetes, heart disease, respiratory distress, high blood pressure and cancer. Certain breeds of dog have a higher risk, and obesity is more likely as pets get older and are less mobile. Neutered dogs are more at risk, and obesity is reported to be more common in females. The RSPCA says obese owners may be more likely to have obese dogs, perhaps because they are less likely to exercise their dog, or are less able to recognise obesity.
The way to avoid obesity in your pet is a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. If you’re in doubt, your vet can help you to help your pet lose weight.
ABOVE:Too much of a good thing? Portion control is as important for pets as it is for humans