Posts Tagged: pet obesity
Diabetes is no longer just a human problem, over the past thirty years, the incidence of diabetes in dogs have increased three-fold. Finding out your dog has diabetes can be frightening for any pet owner and will likely leave you with many questions and possibly leave you feeling powerless and overwhelmed.
The Pet Experts are here to help you and your pet navigate the path toward your dog’s wellness. With proper veterinary help and home care by a dedicated pet parent there is no reason why your dog can’t live a normal life with canine diabetes. Continue…
Moving into the new year, pet owners can do a variety of things to keep the future full of adoring looks, happy wags, cozy cuddles, and sweet smooches. But possibly the single-most important aspect of taking care of your pet’s health involves what they eat.
With pet obesity rates rising, doing what you can for your pet now can prevent health problems, or drastically minimize existing ones. Join us in learning more about the connection between nutrition and obesity. Continue…
The pet obesity epidemic is a big concern in this country, and the problem is growing worse. Weight loss is not easy for anyone, human or otherwise. When it comes down to it, the solution seems simple: Eat less, exercise more. This is easier said than done, however, particularly in the cat. But there are important reasons for us to strive to reach a healthy weight for our feline companions.
Overweight cats are prone to illness and shortened lives
Overweight cats are prone to some serious medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and certain forms of cancer. Overweight cats live shorter lives than normal weight cats. Also, these cats tend to be “lazier”, not moving around as much, which makes it harder to detect early signs of serious illnesses. Fat cats are no laughing matter.
What can you do to help your cat slim down?
So how do we accomplish safe, successful weight loss for our furry felines?
- Cut the calories. This sounds simple enough, but there is more to it than just not eating as much. Fat cats are prone to developing a serious liver disease called hepatic lipidosis if they do not eat enough. Kitty diets should only be started under the guidance of your veterinarian. He or she can help you to calculate your cat’s daily calorie requirements. Don’t be tempted to use a self-feeder. Instead, measure out portions daily. Pet or play with your kitty when it begs–some cats are literally starving for attention! Feed small meals frequently and freshen the water bowl often. These little changes can make a big one!
- Change the food. For some cats, simply changing the diet can make a drastic difference. For instance, most canned foods have a lower caloric content than their dry counterparts. Light or diet foods are also available. Be sure that you are not cutting calories too drastically by calculating caloric needs with your veterinarian. Cats can be finicky about new foods, so be sure to gradually introduce the new diet over a 1-2 week period. You can try to make new foods more palatable by warming them slightly or adding a little oregano or a splash of salmon juice or omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
- Get that kitty moving! No bones about it–it is harder to increase your cat’s activity level than your dog’s. It takes some creativity to get your cat burning calories. Make your cat “hunt” for its food by moving the bowl frequently. Try putting it at the furthest place from kitty’s sleeping spot to encourage movement. Use interactive toys such as flashlights, laser pointers, paper bags–anything your cat likes to chase to have a short activity session daily. You may need to change it up frequently.
- Keep track of progress. Rechecks and weigh-ins can help tell you if you are on the right track. Monthly weigh-ins are ideal. If you are not making progress in a month’s time, it is time to try another food or technique.
Just like the rest of America, our nation’s pets have expanding waistlines. According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, about 54% of pets in America are overweight or obese. While being curvy may be cute, it is not healthy. Pets that are overweight are at increased risk for the following:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart and respiratory disease
- Joint injury including cranial cruciate ligament injury
- Kidney disease
- Many forms of cancer
- Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years!)
If those aren’t reasons enough to take your pet’s weight seriously, then nothing is. If you are not sure if your pet is overweight, be sure to ask us at your pet’s next checkup. We can also give you helpful tips in order to aid in shedding pounds including prescription diets and lab work to rule out underlying medical conditions.