January is that time of year when most of us are counting the pounds after Christmas in more ways than one! For many of us, one of our New Year’s Resolutions will include trying to lose some weight and be healthier.
But what about our pets?
According to a PDSA survey of pet owners in 2014, around 1 in 3 dogs and 1 in 4 cats are overweight! Around 9 out of 10 owners gave their pets treats even though 91% knew the resulting obesity could reduce their pet’s lifespan!
Weight really does matter
As with humans, being overweight can have many harmful effects. Overweight pets are at increased risk of developing the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Skin disease
- Soft tissue injuries (eg pulls and strains)
- Kidney disease
- Many types of cancer
Statistically, it has been shown that an overweight pet will decrease their life expectancy by up to 2.5 years!
So how do I know if my pet is overweight?
It is surprising how often we see clients who are genuinely shocked when they are told that their pet is significantly overweight. Part of the problem seems to be that there are now so many pets that are overweight, that this is now becoming the norm.
Clients often point to breed charts and quote weights for certain breeds, but this is a bit like trying to say what an average human should weigh. What we each look like in a mirror is a far better gauge, and the same applies to pets.
Take a look at your pet from a distance. You should see that the tummy tucks up at the level of the waist and, from above, there should be a noticeable waist visible.
Have a feel of your pet. When you run your hands over your pet, you should be able to feel the ribs easily without having to push down through layers of fat.
To get a better idea of this concept, check out this link: Body Condition Scoring Chart
Obesity is a disease and it is vital that all pet owners should be able recognise if their pet is overweight or obese and then to take action.
Ask us - We’re here to help
If you think your pet might be overweight, come and see us. Together, we can determine your pet’s correct weight, rule out any contributing medical issues, and then formulate a plan to achieve the necessary weight loss.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for your pet is one of the most important things you can do for them, especially if you want them to live long, happy and healthy lives.