Obesity is the most common medical problem seen in pets today. It is estimated to affect 1 in every 4 cats and dogs in America. Obesity is defined as excessive body mass resulting in impairment of health and/or body function. Obesity can significantly increase the risk of various diseases/conditions that affect a pet’s life span and quality of life. Overfeeding, inactivity, hypothyroidism, neurologic or orthopedic conditions that limit mobility can all contribute to obesity in pets.
Conditions associated with obesity:
- Heart & lung disease
- Orthopedic disease
- Joint/muscle pain which can lead to injury
- Insulin resistance (type II diabetes)
- Increased anesthetic risk
- Decreased exercise tolerance
- In cats, risks also include urinary tract disease, skin disease, and fatty liver disease.
Tips to control pet obesity:
- Controlling food intake
- Measuring food rather than “eyeballing”
- Exercise on regular basis
- Healthy Treats
- Carrots, Boiled chicken, plain green beans, plain pureed pumpkin
- Prescription weight loss diet
- Addressing underlying medical condition(s)
- Think outside the box (or bowl!)- Include food puzzles, make a backyard maze, or make exercise fun with some healthy treats
A weight loss plan customized to you and your pet can be made in partnership with your veterinarian. Special metabolic & mobility diets are a good choice for severely overweight dogs and cats. These prescription diets provide enough protein and other nutrients while cutting back the amount of intake.
We partner with Pet Aquatic to provide aquatic therapy (an underwater treadmill), which help patients who have decreased mobility due to arthritis or other conditions. The underwater treadmill provides buoyancy for pets and the warm water helps relax painful muscles and joints. “Lola” is a beautiful 6 year old bulldog who presenting with various complications due to obesity. Due to her obesity she sustained injury to her legs and joints, making it harder for her to get around. Her owner and Healthy Pets devised a plan to tackle her obesity which included a prescription diet, joint supplements, and aquatic therapy. Over the course of a couple of months “Lola” went from 87.5 pounds to 75!
Battling pet obesity calls for dedication and discipline (on both pets & their owners) but the rewards far outweigh the negatives. Ask us how to get started today!