Last month we touched on what causes obesity in our pets… now we'd like to talk about why it is bad and how we can help!

 

So why is obesity so bad?

Just like in people, obesity can cause a myriad of other issues associated with it.  These include:

Arthritis

  Extra weight puts extra pressure and unneeded stress on joints.  This can lead to decreased mobility which can compound the problem of obesity. Often weight management alone can be extremely beneficial in arthritic pets.

Respiratory issues

  In an obese pet, respiration can be more difficult.  The muscles of the chest have to work much harder against a layer of fat.  Additionally, in animals known to have weaker tracheas, this adds additional pressure to an already weakened trachea.

Diabetes Mellitus

  In our pets, and cats especially, obesity can lead to an increase in insulin resistance.  It is not uncommon for us to diagnose diabetes in obese patients.

Increased Surgical Risk

  Obesity can lead to an increase in multiple risk factors when considering anesthetic.  When considering breathing, anesthetic is a known respiratory depressant; due to the extra layer of fat, respiration under anesthetic is much more difficult in obese animals.  Additionally, fat inside the abdomen can create difficulty visualizing structures that would normally be easily accessed.

Treats

  While treats can be a great way to train your pet and encourage good behavior, some treats contain as much as HALF of your pet’s daily caloric intake.  It’s important to note on the bag, when buying treats, how many calories each treat contains.  As an alternative, your pet’s regular food may be used as a treat.

 

 

Overcoming the weight problem

Diet and Exercise

  When starting a diet plan, it is important to limit the amount of calories going in.  A set amount of daily calories should be measured each day. If other animals are in the house, it’s important to make sure that there is no cheating between animals.  Treats should also be calculated into the daily caloric intake. Anderson Veterinary Clinic offers a variety of prescription diets specifically designed for weight loss.

Exercise

  Exercise is a great way to shed the pounds.  In dogs that have more difficulty walking, low impact exercises (such as swimming) are a great alternative.  Increasing time playing with toys is also a ‘sneaky’ way to get in exercise.

 

A great way to track your pet’s history is frequent weigh ins and pictures.  We encourage you to stop by the clinic so we can weigh your pet.

If you feel your pet is overweight or you have questions regarding a weight loss program, please do not hesitate to call.

We'd also like to remind everyone that February is Oral Health month so check back for some helpful tricks for oral health.