WARNING

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Close [x]


AAHA logo

Keeping Your Pet Fit and Trim


Are you aware that obesity is the most common form of malnutrition in pets, and approximately half of today’s pets are overweight or obese? Did you know that obese cats are 4 times more likely to develop diabetes and 3 times more likely to die an early death due to obesity related problems than lean cats? 

What is obesity? Obesity is defined as greater than 20% over ideal body weight. Obesity is caused by eating more calories than the body needs. There are certain medical conditions that may result in obesity, such as thyroid disease and other endocrine disorders; however, the majority of cases are caused simply by over eating and not getting enough exercise. Certain habits, such as free choice feeding, over measuring, over treating and adding table scraps to the diet will result in obesity over time. Add to that not getting enough exercise compounds the problem. 

What can you do to control obesity? The first step is recognizing obesity in your pet. A simple touch and feel for the ribs is a quick gauge for obesity. The ribs should be easily felt, and slightly visible. When you view your pet from above, there should be an “hourglass” shape to the back of your pet. When you view your pet from the side, the belly should be tucked in, not dragging on the floor. Most cases of obesity will require a weight loss diet with strict adherence to the amount fed. An 8 oz. measuring cup is the standard size to measure out dry pet foods. Feeding small frequent meals may help keep your pet full and reduce begging. Feeding low calorie treats may help keep the weight down. Lastly, exercise is a great way for everyone to keep fit. For indoor cats, using a laser pointer and shining the beam on the wall will give them something to chase. Be careful not to shine it in their eyes. Locating the water bowl at the opposite end of the house from the feeding bowl will also encourage exercise. For dogs, a simple walk to the park can have excellent benefits. For more information, please refer to www.petfit.com and veterinarypartner.com for more tips and some great success stories.