You have probably heard that pet obesity is on the rise. You may also know that around 65% of dogs in the UK are considered overweight. But did you know that the majority of the veterinary profession consider pet obesity to be the biggest health and welfare issue facing pets today?
So why do we care?
Obesity can cause a dramatically shortened life span and can seriously reduce your pet’s quality of life. It can also predispose them to or worsen a range of worrying diseases including:
* Diabetes mellitus
* Heart disease
* Breathing difficulties
* Certain cancers
What can you do to help?
The main cause of obesity is eating too much or not exercising enough. There are also a few diseases which can make an animal appear overweight or make losing weight a challenge. If you are worried, bring your pet in for a check over with one of our vets who may do some more tests. Otherwise, here are some top tips on getting on top of your pets’ weight:
* Start a food diary and record EVERYTHING. This should help you identify where those extra calories are coming from and make it easier to decide where you can make cuts.
* Measure food portions accurately using scales
* Switch to a low-calorie dog food, we really like the Virbac W1 but it’s only available in certain vets
* Make sure nobody else is feeding your pet (especially cats)
* Avoid human food. One human biscuit can be the equivalent of an entire packet for a dog.
* Weigh them regularly
* Encourage them to eat more slowly
* Be patient! We aim for weight loss of 1-2% a week
* Increase exercise. Play with a bit of string or laser to get your cat moving. Take your dog out on an extra walk or play fetch for a little longer every day.
Weight loss is not easy and is even harder on your own. We would love to help you out. Our nurses run dedicated Waist Watchers‘ appointments at our Cornwall vet clinics in St Austell, Bodmin, Lostwithiel and Liskeard where they can talk through different options with you and help measure the weight loss. Regular appointments mean we can provide ongoing support as well if things aren’t going to plan.
To find out more about pet health and obesity, contact your nearest Kernow Vets clinic.