Pet Obesity Awareness Day

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

October 10 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day.  More than half of pet dogs and cats are overweight or obese.  Is your dog or cat overweight?

Overweight pets are more likely to develop arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes than pets at a healthy weight.  And these problems can start at any age!  Start early in your pet's life monitoring weight, food intake, and exercise.

Helpful Hint: Neutered males & spayed females have a lower metabolism than intact animals.  Therefor, they need fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight.  Spaying and neutering does NOT make pets fat.  Not altering their caloric intake after surgery does.

At Suburban Animal Clinic, we score your pet's body condition on a scale of 1-5 (1 is emaciated, 5 is obese).  The goal is a body condition score of 3, which is ideal.  This is based on the overall appearance of your pet.  Can you see a waist on your pet?  Can you lightly feel along your pet's ribcage and feel ribs?  If the answer is no, your pet may be too heavy!

A good, quality diet helps your pet maintain a healthy weight.  Do not overfeed your pet.  Assign one person in your home to feed your pets.  Monitor feeding times if you have multiple pets to be sure everyone gets their share.  If you free feed, especially with cats, determine an amount he/she is allowed to have per day, and put small amounts in small dishes throughout the home.  This encourages your cat to 'hunt' for food, and makes your cat move to find food rather than sit in front of the bowl.

Helpful Hint: Many cat owners complain of cats meowing or waking them during the night or early hours of the morning because they are hungry.  Hold back a small amount of your cat's food and put it down as a snack at bedtime.  This often helps cut down on early wake-up calls due to hunger.

Watch the amount of treats you give.  1 treat for your pet is equal to a human eating a candy bar in calories.  How many candy bars should you eat in a day?  Use your pet's normal food as treats.  If it comes from your hand, to them, it is a treat.

Exercise your pet daily.  Take your dog for a 5-10 minute walk, or play ball in the yard for a few minutes.  Roll a ball for your kitty or allow him/her to chase a laser pointer.

Just like with humans, maintaining a healthy weight helps maintain overall health.  Staff at Suburban are happy to weigh your pet and discuss a proper diet to keep your pet at an ideal weight (periodic weigh-ins for our clients are no charge).  Contact us to discuss your pet's diet today!