Does This Leash Make Me Look Fat?

6 11 2010

You may think that the few extra pounds Fido or Fluffy are carrying around isn’t a problem, but depending just how many extra pounds we’re talking about, your pet could be considered overweight. Affecting 25% to 40% of the pet population, obesity is the number one nutritionally-related health condition plaguing dogs today.

Most pet owners don’t realize their four-legged companions are packing on the pounds until they are at the vet’s office for another reason. A steady diet of overeating and under-exercising begin to take its toll over time and the next thing you know your pet is unable to breathe and walk properly and experience a lower tolerance for activity and heat.

How Will I Know?

If it looks like your pet may be gaining a few extra pounds, of course you can decrease his caloric intake and increase his exercise, but it should be the vet’s final word that determines whether or not your fur baby is considered “obese.”

Your vet can conduct a series of tests to determine your pet’s obesity. These tests can include measurements of body weight and body condition or blood work and urinalysis to determine if there are medical conditions contributing to the weight gain. If there are other conditions found, this may lead other tests to determine the problem before setting your pet on a weight loss program. Other tests include your pet’s daily diet: type of food, how much, snacks and treats and of course, exercise.

My Pet Is Overweight, Now What?

There are many pet foods out there that can help you begin your pet on a weight loss program, but changing their food isn’t the only step. As with humans, burning more calories than you take in each day will cause you to lose weight. You can also increase your pet’s fiber and water intake.

Who Cares If My Pet is Fat?

It may seem harmless for your dog or cat to be “not fat but fluffy,” but there are many reasons that obesity can be dangerous for your pet. In dogs, for example, carry around extra weight can lead to arthritis and back problems – particularly in breeds that are already prone to these problems. And just like in their human owners, extra weight can lead to an abnormal glucose tolerance level that can result in diabetes.For your feline friends, they are also likely to develop arthritis, back problems and glucose issues, they also are prone to fatty liver disease, skin disorders and feline lower urinary tract disease. In both animals, extra pounds can mean shorter life span.

It is my hope that by reading this brief post, you will begin to analyze your pet’s diet and weight and work with your veterinarian to determine if your pet is obese. If she is, take the necessary steps to begin a weight loss program. If she’s not, continue what you’re doing and your pet can expect your pet to live a long, healthy and happy life.



One response

8 11 2010
My Dog Needs More Fiber – But How? « Animal Rescue Superhighway

[…] a requirement, doing so can introduce a host of health benefits which include a reduced chance your pet will become obese, improved colon health and the prevention of constipation and even […]

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