Pet Obesity

Alison Laurie-Chalmers, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness

Pet Obesity is on the rise, sadly bringing with it an increased risk of ill health and poor quality of life for our overweight companion animals. Obesity is fast becoming one of the most serious health problems affecting our pets, with currently one in three cats and one in four dogs considered to be overweight and the problem of pet obesity can only get worse.

We can make a big difference to our pets if their weight is carefully and regularly monitored and their daily diet controlled correctly.

Obesity can shorten your dog’s lifespan by as much as two years. It can also result in a whole range of health problems including; joint disease, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, respiratory disease and tumours.

Obesity in cats is extremely detrimental to health and can result in serious health conditions such as; diabetes, lower urinary tract disease (cystitis), joint disease, fatty liver disease (Hepatic Lipidosis), exercise intolerance and respiratory disease.

Overweight cats are twice as likely to develop diabetes and eight times more likely if they are clinically obese.  Cats are carnivores in the wild, they would have caught their own prey and rarely would you have seen an overweight feline. Now we provide them with such pampered lives that a lean, toned cat is fast becoming the minority. It is estimated that around 52% of cats are now overweight or obese in the UK.

If you want to have your canine or feline best friend around for as long as possible, now is the time to do something positive about getting him/her back into shape.

Most Vet practices run regular weight clinics to assist owners on their journey towards achieving a slimmer and healthier pet. The aim of these clinics is to fully support owners through the process of weight loss plans, as we all appreciate dieting is never an easy task. Your pet will be weighed regularly and a current body condition score given. Also included may be additional body measurements around the neck, chest and abdomen. With your permission, photographs may also be taken so that before and after comparisons can be made when your pet has achieved their target weight. Also at your first weight management check-up a full daily dietary and exercise history will be taken. From here your pet’s daily energy requirements can be carefully worked out, dependent on their age, stage and lifestyle. Then an initial dietary weight loss plan for your individual pet can be set up. To make life simpler there are also excellent weight loss diets available. These are well researched, complete and satisfying diets which are formulated to provide all the necessary daily nutrients with a lower calorie content. You will be given advice on how much to feed of these diets and on what foods to avoid. If you comply with the feeding guides given for these diets and also with other specific diet plans given, then gradually you should begin to see some positive results for your happy and healthier pet.