How do pets become overweight?
There are many factors that can increase the likelihood of weight gain in our pets but, as with people, usually weight gain happens because the amount of calories consumed by the pet is greater than the amount of calories burned up and used by the body.
In fact, a lot of overweight pets do not seem to eat a lot of food at all, but often what they do eat may contain more calories than they can burn off in a day.
Why should my pet lose weight?
Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue. Being overweight can seriously affect your pet’s long-term health and well-being because it can put your pet at risk for developing some serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, when a pet is overweight or obese it no longer is a question of “if” your pet will develop a condition secondary to the excess weight but “how soon and how serious!”
Some of the most common disorders associated with excess weight include
- Increased frequency of joint injuries
- High blood pressure
- Skin and coat problems
- Anal gland problems
- Incontinence (bitches)
- Breathing difficulties
- Ulcers / pressure sores
- Arthritis, joint and mobility problems
Overweight and obese pets usually have shorter lives than fitter pets. Overweight pets also tend to interact less with their families.
Is Your Pet Overweight?
Use the chart below to determine where on the scale your pet is (be honest). If your pet is scoring 6 or more, then he or she is likely to be overweight.
Healthy Weight Clinic
Many pets are referred to this clinic by a vet, however, if you feel that your pet is overweight and would like some advice, please contact us and we will be happy to make an appointment for you. These clinics are provided free of charge to our clients but places are limited so we advise that you make your appointment as soon as possible.
Our Healthy Weight Clinics are managed by registered veterinary nurse Clare Espley, who has a special interest in canine and feline nutrition. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your pet’s food intake and eating habits and to keep a food diary for your pet over a week or so. This will enable Clare to make a weight loss plan that is based on your pet’s lifestyle and individual requirements. She will then be able to advise you on the best way for you to help your pet lose his or her excess weight and keep it off.
Regular monitoring and weight checks are essential to ensure that your pet is losing weight at a safe rate and so that we can make any adjustments to your pet’s diet as necessary. Initially you will be asked to bring your pet to the surgery every 2 weeks, but once weight loss is steady this may be increased to every 3-4 weeks.
During these appointments your pet will be weighed and measured and any adjustments to your pet’s diet and exercise can be discussed. Most pets start to really enjoy coming in for these appointments.
Helping your pet lose weight will require a commitment to the weight loss and overall fitness of your pet from the whole family, but is well worth the effort and is easier than you think.
Make an appointment
If you think your pet may be overweight please make an appointment for our free Healthy weight Clinic by contacting us on 0118 957 4488. If possible please complete a Healthy Weight Clinic questionnaire, food diary and exercise diary for your pet before your appointment.