There are days we like to give our furry friends a little extra kibble at dinnertime or a tasty treat to show them how much we care. However, go overboard and you might end up with an overweight pet, or worse, an obese one. Obesity is one of the most common medical conditions affecting 60% of cats and 56% of dogs, according to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Similar to humans, excessive body fat can lead to a host of problems: joint disease, predisposition to metabolic disorders or a state of chronic inflammation. Furthermore, these obese animals typically are less energetic and tend to have shorter life spans.
Estimating the weight of our furry friend can be difficult, and we, as humans, usually tend to underestimate how much our pet has gained. Thankfully, a weight dog/cat chart, or Body Condition Score (BCS), can help reduce some of the mystery behind your pet’s ideal weight. It is imperative to monitor your pet’s weight because excessive fat in dogs and cats does have its consequences.
Studies show that excessive fat may lead to reduced life expectancy, chronic inflammation, skin disorders, orthopedic disease, respiratory disorders, kidney dysfunction, and metabolic/endocrine disorders. Veterinary behaviorists have suggested that some obese dogs and cats are clinically depressed. Their daily activity is often limited to taking brief jaunts in the yard or to the litter box for bathroom breaks. The first step to helping your pet lose weight is by speaking with your veterinarian. Here at Catlett Animal Hospital, we can provide guidance about the right diet for your pet including type, amount, and frequency of feedings. Additionally, we can discuss exercise.
This month, we are focusing on weight loss. If you feel your pet is overweight and want to take the first step in helping him/her lose that weight, then speak with us about the Hill’s Weight Loss Challenge. It is as simple as signing up and starting your pet on a weight loss diet. Weight checks happen every two to three weeks and at the end will decide the winner by the overall most percent of body weight lost. There will be one cat and one dog winner which will earn them three months of free, healthy food. Speak with one of our veterinarians today about details on participating in this weight loss challenge!