Loving Your Pet To Death!

The title may be a little dramatic but it’s the truth. When we love our pet, how do we usually express it? With treats! The most common reason that dogs and cats are overweight is by consuming more calories than they need. That pleasantly plump pet may have some serious health risks to consider.

Respiratory

Obesity increases exercise intolerance and increases the risk of heat exhaustion. Obesity also worsens existing respiratory conditions. If your pet has a collapsing trachea, a fatter neck will surely make it harder to breath. If you own a breed with an adorable squishy face, they already have predisposed respiratory issues made worse with weight gain, such as small nostrils or an elongated palate.

Cardiac (heart) disease

Obesity incresed the risk of cardiac disease and high blood pressure in humans and our little four legged friends too!  This is especiall true with certain breeds predisoped to heart disease.  In dogs that already have heart disease, obesity can also make it harder for them to get around as it requires more blood to be pumped around the body.

Skeletal Disease

Obesity causes existing arthritis issues to be more painful or may even speed up arthritic changes in your pet’s joints. All that extra weight can even be the cause of your pet’s osteoarthritis due to the increased mechanical stress on the joints.

Injuries

A cranial cruciate ligament tear is more likely to occur in overweight pets because their joint structure is already compromised by their mass. Your dachshund is more likely to get a slipped or ruptured disc due to all that extra weight they are carrying on their back.

Disease Processes

Obesity increases the risk of insulin resistance in both cats and dogs which leads to Diabetes Mellitus. Treatment includes weight loss, diet, daily insulin injections, and sometimes oral medications. One clinical sign of Diabetes Mellitus as well as Hypothyroidism is weight gain, so it is important to run certain diagnostics to rule out these diseases before beginning a weight loss regimen.

Healthify Your Pet

You can determine if your pet is overweight by evaluating his body condition at home. Does he have a well-proportioned waist? Does his abdomen ‘tuck’ when viewed from the side? Can you easily feel his ribs (not see his ribs) when you slide your fingers up and down his sides? If you answered ‘NO’ to these questions, your pet is overweight. Please contact us to help you formulate a weight loss program specific to your pet’s needs. We can offer many options for pet owners to help keep our furry friends lean. Here are a few helpful hints:

  • Watch what he eats
  • Low-Calorie Snack Alternatives: 17 calories in ¼ cup of carrots, 12 calories in ¼ cup of apple, 9 calories in ¼ cup of green beans
  • Exercise: Take your dog for a 30-minute walk, play fetch, create an obstacle course, hide the catnip toy or treat and make your pet hunt for it
  • Visit us on a monthly basis to monitor your pet’s progress.

Now that you know the serious health risks that accompany obesity, maybe little Oscar’s saddle bags aren’t so cute anymore. Let’s resolve to all get fit together! GOOD LUCK!