Understanding Pet Obesity with your Alexandria Veterinarian

It is estimated that 54 percent of pet dogs and cats in America are overweight of obese. Carrying excess weight is just as unhealthy for a pet as it is for a human. Luckily, there are ways that you can help your pet shed the pounds and return to a healthy, normal weight.


Health Problems

Pets that are overweight or obese are prone to joint problems. Hips and stifles are the most commonly affected. Pet obesity affects internal organs like the heart. It’s important to understand that even being two pounds overweight can negatively impact your pet’s health and wellness.

Causes

There is one simple reason that pets gain weight: They eat too much. Pet parents don’t like to think that they are overfeeding their pets but, if your pet is heavy, chances are high that you are feeding it too much. But you’re just following the recommendations on the back of the bag! Typically, the instructions on the back of the bag tell you to feed your pets too much; after all, the pet food companies want you to buy more product.

Remedies

One of the best things that you can do for your pet is to begin limiting the amount of food that it gets. If you are the type of owner who loves giving their pet treats, replace store-bought dog and cat treats with pieces of fruit or vegetables. You can also reduce the amount of food that you are putting in your pet’s bowl. Speak to your veterinarian before putting your pet on a diet; it’s not always safe to reduce food by drastic amounts.

What Your Veterinarian Can Do

If your pet is overweight or obese, your veterinarian can help you design a feeding plan that will help your pet lose weight. Your veterinarian may also want to test your pet for things like hypothyroidism or diabetes to rule out physical causes for the weight gain. A veterinarian also has the ability to place your pet on a prescription diet if necessary.

If you cannot easily feel our dogs ribs or if your cat’s belly is swinging a little too low, it’s time to talk to your vet. He or she can tell you what your pet weighs and, ultimately, what it should weigh. Your vet is a partner in your pet’s health and is happy to help you!

If you have concerns or questions about pet obesity, discuss during your next visit with your neighborhood veterinarian.

 

About the Author

Dr. Holly Gill is an experienced veterinarian in Alexandria, Virginia. Connect with Dr. Gill on Google+.

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