Time to shed those ex­tra inches

A new year res­o­lu­tion for you and your pet?

EADT Suffolk - - A PETS LIFE -

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

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