Have a pet that is a little plumper than you’d like him to be? Does your dog refuse to run after her favorite toy and seem more sluggish than usual? Does your cat have a little belly fat that jiggles when she runs and seems to be a bit more round than sleek?
If any of these sounds familiar your pet is most likely overweight. Just like us, our pets can carry a couple of extra unnecessary pounds. Yes, all dogs and cats have different body types and what one ideal weight may be for one pet may not apply to another pet. Ensuring that your pet maintains his ideal weight is at the foundation of ensuring your pet lives a long and healthy life.
Your pet’s ideal weight is determined by your veterinarian using various body measurements. This method is meant to personalize the weight loss journey for your pet and help you, the pet owner, work towards the ideal weight goal by restricting diets and bonding with your pet through exercise and play.
To check on your pet’s health, bring your beloved pet to your veterinarian regularly for an update on his or her health and for a body weight check. Long term obesity can reduce the lifespan of your pet, increase health issues and overall reduce in comfort. Some health issues listed by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) linked to obesity are:
- Increased risk during surgery (decreased lung function, decreased liver and kidney function)
- Increased risk of high blood pressure
- Increased risk of arthritis
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Decreased ability to fight off infections
- Decreased endurance
- Decreased ability to cool down in hot weather
- Many other related medical issues
It is important to acknowledge that having an overweight or obese pet is not uncommon. You and your pet are not alone in their weight loss journey and here are some facts to reassure you. Obesity is one of the most common diagnosed health issues at preventative exams. The CNVA estimates that 50% to 60% out of 7.9 million cats and 5.9 million dogs in Canada are overweight or obese. That is over half of all Canadian dogs and cats, so let’s make a change!
How do you ask?
Begin by ensuring your pet is in tip top shape. Bring him or her to your veterinarian and get his full health assessment.
Ensure you are feeding an appropriate quantity of food for your pet’s weight and lifestyle. Athletic pets may require more nutrient than those all-day snoozers. This can be discussed with your veterinarian.
Keep your pet active. Active lifestyles are not only beneficial to our pets but to us as well. It’s a two for one deal! Go for a run with your dog, play ball, sign up for some doggie sports. As for you cats, play! There’s a kitten inside all of them. Throw around their favorite ball, have them chase a teaser toy, sneak some catnip into their favorite stuffed mouse.