Eating too much food can cause your pet to become overweight and increase the risks of conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and breathing problems. Overweight pets live shorter lives.
Is my pet overweight?
All pets have an ideal weight unique to their size and breed but this can vary greatly within each breed. The following symptoms are signs/indicators that your pet may be overweight:
– Their ribs cannot be felt easily when running your hands along their side
– Loss of an obvious waist (yes your pet should have a waist!)
– Their collar or harness needs loosening
– Difficulty in walking
– Slow movement
– Shortness of breath
– Sleeping more than usual
Body Condition Scoring (BCS) your pet also helps in determining if your pet is overweight or even obese. BCS uses a 5 point scale with 3 being the ideal score. Anything above 3 means your pet is overweight and anything below 3 means your pet is underweight. Watch the video below to see how to BCS your pet.
How can I help my pet to lose weight?
Weight issues can be successfully managed with changes in diet and lifestyle. Combining a change in diet with increased exercise is the most effective way of achieving a healthy weight.
Exercise tips for cats:
– Encourage your cat to follow you as you move around, particularly going up & down stairs
– Use toys to encourage your cat to play, or hide food to make them “hunt” for it
– Shine a torch on a wall for your cat to chase
Exercise tips for dogs:
– Enjoy regular walks with your dog and gradually increase their exercise as their fitness improves
– Take your dog for walks on different surfaces such as sand or in water – this provides extra resistance
– Encourage play in the garden and in the home
Prescription diets are available to help your pet lose weight also. They are specially formulated to be low in calories and high in fibre to ensure your pet feels satisfied.
Tips for healthy feeding:
– Only feed the recommended weight loss diet
– Use a weighing scales to measure the recommended feeding amount daily
– Restrict feeding time to 10 -15 minutes
– It is also very important not to feed extra scraps, treats and titbits
– Nominate a sole feeder to ensure consistency and avoid double feeding but the whole family must be committed to the new feeding regime
– Remove the temptation for your pet to steal food by not leaving food lying around
– Keep your pet out of the room when eating or preparing food
– Always provide plenty of fresh, clean water
If you feel your pet is overweight, and would like some expert/knowledgeable help, phone City Vet on 061-419760 to arrange an appointment to join our free weight clinic.