Obesity is a condition that can be defined as an excess of body fat that is enough to impair health, welfare and quality of life. Obese pets have a reduced quality of life. They are less willing to play and exercise, and many go on to develop medical conditions linked to their weight. The House Vet is committed to raising awareness of the rising problem of pet obesity for the benefit of our pets and their owners. We are also committed to providing pet owners with the information you need to help your pets stay a healthy shape and weight.
What causes obesity?
Although some diseases can cause obesity, the main reason that pets become obese is because the food they eat contains more energy than they can use up. This means that if pets eat too much or do not do enough exercise, they may become obese!
Obesity can not only cause very serious health and welfare problems but can also make existing problems worse. As a result it can reduce both length and quality of a pet’s life.
A few examples of the health problems that obesity can cause are:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Orthopaedic disease
- Heart disease
- Respiratory distress
- High blood pressure
- Skin disease
- Can feel ribs, backbone and hip bones; but not prominent
- Smooth, curved, tucked-in waist
- Base of tail smooth
- No waist and back broader
- Ribs, backbone and hipbones difficult to feel
- Bulging pot belly
- Cannot feel ribs, backbone and hipbones
- Thick fatty pads at base of tail
It’s best to stick to a commercial pet food as recommended by your vet. Home-made diets are an option, but it’s difficult to make sure these contain the right amount and types of nutrients for pets. Avoid excessive treats. It is always nice to reward our pets with a treat or special meal, but be aware that treats often have many more calories than regular diet, so excessive treating can sometimes double your pets daily calorie intake!
There are lots of ways to exercise pets besides walking. Dogs enjoy running and playing games like ‘fetch’ so mix things up and vary the types of exercise.
House cats definitely need an exercise plan as it is all too easy for them to get into a routine of eating, napping and little else in between. Ideally set time aside to play with house cats regularly to ensure they get enough exer- cise and encourage them to ‘work’ for their food, using toys that release food when pushed around. Outdoor cats should get plenty of exercise when out and about, but this is not always the case, so owners should encourage them to exercise through play. The best toys are those that encourage chasing and pouncing.Avoid excessive treats. It is always nice to reward our pets with a treat or special meal, but be aware that treats often have many more calories than regular diet, so excessive treating can sometimes double your pets daily calorie intake!