Has your pet overindulged over Christmas?
Have a guess at what percentage of dogs are overweight in the UK… 51%!
Dogs are not alone as 44% of cats in the UK are also overweight!
Obesity in our pets is a fast-growing problem that comes with many health risks:
- A reduced lifespan
- Spinal problems – especially in small breeds
- Cruciate ligament issues
- Breathing problems – especially in brachycephalic breeds
How do you know if your pet is overweight?
The best way to assess your pet is to look at their body shape as this should stay the same even if their bodyweight fluctuates throughout their life.
– You should be able to feel your pet’s spine, ribs and hipbones quite easily but you shouldn’t be able to see them.
– Your pet should have a tucked in waist.
Why has my pet become overweight?
There are a number of factors that can cause your pet to become overweight. If you are aware of them, you can try and avoid them in the future:
– Over feeding. It is important to measure out your pet’s daily intake of food as if you are feeding them too much, the extra calories they are receiving will be stored as fat. You should also check you are feeding the appropriate life stage diet for your pet.
– Treats. If you like give treats to your pet, you will need to reduce their daily food intake accordingly. Human food should be avoided as not only can cause tummy upsets, it is a lot higher in calories.
– Lack of exercise. It is important for your pet to get enough exercise so they can burn off the calories they get each day from their food. You will have to adapt exercise for puppies and elderly animals to ensure they are not getting too much exercise and it’s consistent.
– Neutering. This can result in metabolic changes so your pet may need less calories once they have been neutered and it may be worth changing to a neutered diet.
It is a good idea to weigh your pet regularly and we can advise you if you are over or under feeding your pet. If you are struggling to keep your pet’s weight down, please call our nurse, Claire, who can advise you.